HUNTSVILLE – The soon-to-be-abandoned Administrative Building that is home to Huntsville’s City Hall and its replacement still under construction were both topics at Thursday night’s regular meeting of the City Council.
The former came up in a resolution that was approved allowing Mayor Tommy Battle to enter into an architectural agreement with Fuqua & Partners Architects, P.C., for work related to the demolition of the aging downtown structure on Fountain Circle.
Later, with construction of the new city hall moving along, an ordinance was introduced by Councilwoman Jennie Robinson (District 4) to begin the process of naming the $80 million new building rising on Front Row.
Robinson supports the uncluttered name Huntsville City Hall.
“Anybody who looks at that building knows that we are moving closer and closer every day to the completion of that building,” Robinson told her colleagues. “And since we are getting so close, we really need to set to rest the naming of the building. So that’s why I am introducing this ordinance.
“And so please, as you read through it in preparation for the meeting next week it will give you an opportunity to just what that thought process is on naming it the Huntsville City Hall.”
The council will meet Thursday as it moves to a holiday schedule. Regular meetings are the first and third Thursday of the month in November and December.
The contract with Fuqua & Partners does not include physical demolition, but instead involves the creation of a roadmap guiding the process, from utility disconnections and relocations to a final site plan. The city will put out the demolition bid next year. When the building is gone, the property will become Big Spring Park East.
Ricky Wilkinson, city director of General Services, said the old Administrative Building would be taken down in phases instead of a large implosion. He estimated work would begin in early 2025 and take several months to complete.
Nothing will remain standing of the 1960s-era building, but materials that can be reused will be salvaged. Wilkinson said structural steel can be recycled, while other items like security cameras can be removed and used elsewhere.
“The old Administrative Building has served Huntsville well over the last five-plus decades, but our new home will greatly improve efficiency for all by putting more departments under one roof,” Battle said. “It’s a beautiful building, and more importantly, it was designed with future growth in mind. We can’t wait to share with our citizens.”
Wilkinson estimated the new building is about 80 percent complete. Elevator installation begins in early November, followed by the first test of the building’s heating and air systems in December. Furniture deliveries begin in February.
Wilkinson said departments will move in by phases, beginning in April. All departments should be in the building by early June.
“We’ve had a lot of positive comments on the project,” he said. “I’m glad the community likes the aesthetics of the new building and how it’s coming together.”