Posted 10/18/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Tioga officially opened its new city hall with an open house that attracted more than a few dozen people from the area.
The new 4000-square-foot building provides expanded office space, a large reception area, new commission chambers, a conference room, and a garage to accommodate multiple police vehicles.
The reception area includes a service window with chairs for residents to sit on while they’re waiting.
The event attendees said they were impressed with what they saw.
“There’s no comparison” to the old city hall, said Tioga resident Romell Lawson.
The new city hall was built to serve an anticipated growth in population over the next 20 years.
“They really needed a new building,” Tioga resident Hank Lautenschlager said.
Several people commented on the attractiveness of the new building.
“It’s really amazing, more than I anticipated,” said Betty Pepple. “I like the colors -- very pretty.”
The project is refurbished from a commercial space that housed the Kick N Fit gym, which moved last year to the corner of First Avenue and Main Street.
Many years back, the space was the site of a car dealership.
In the gathering space outside the new commission chambers, the city displayed a number of historic photos and artifacts, including a typewriter and old ledger from the early 1900s.
Jim Grubb, former librarian at Tioga High School who retired in the 1990s, recalled the days when the former city hall was a multi-purpose building housing the fire station, police department, and city hall.
He said city commission meetings were held upstairs, and the auditor’s office was the location of the fire station bays.
The new city hall is a significant expansion.
“It’s pretty big,” Grubb said.
The expanded office space is also making city hall a lot more pleasant place to work.
“I like having a little bit of space. I’m not sitting on top of boxes anymore,” said Ronica Pederson, deputy auditor.
The project was originally estimated to cost the city $3.25 million.
Mayor Drake McClelland said the construction manager at risk, Graham Construction, reduced the cost by $250,000 over the original estimate.
The project was mainly funded by oil impact and “Surge Bill” funding.
Matt Ruhland, project manager with Graham, said Graham can’t take all the credit for the cost savings.
He said a lot of it was a result of “value engineering.”
The architects, city, and subcontractors worked together to explore options that would save money without sacrificing quality.
“It was teamwork, really,” Ruhland said.
Chris Rollag, field operations manager with Graham, said the project is one of the most enjoyable he’s worked on, due in large part to the professionalism of the city.
“The city was amazing to work with,” he said.