The opening of Fire Station 22 on Friday fulfilled a promise made by Mayor Michelle Kaufusi that the $69 million bond voters had previously approved would complete both the station and the new city hall.
Now, it’s time to see the city hall come to fruition. Scott Henderson, manager over the construction of the new city hall, presented the renderings to the council at its last meeting, presenting on how the rest of the bond will be put to use.
“Building in the historic core of Provo has created its share of site issues, with old foundations, storage tanks and swimming pools uncovered, but the community made it clear that this generational feature belonged in the downtown, and all extra efforts will be rewarded by the final product,” Henderson said.
Construction on the new Provo city hall officially began Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. with the demolition of the old Rocky Mountain Drive-in at 50 S. 500 West.
After more than two years of looking at options and warming residents to the needs and wants of the city, voters approved the Police, Fire and City Facilities Bond in Nov. 2018. That vote authorized the city to issue up to $69 million in general obligation bonds for the new city center and for a remodel on Fire Station 22.
“Provo City Center will be the ‘Citizens’ City Center,’ and I want each citizen to be able to track the construction progress, know their money is being wisely spent and feel confident we are keeping the promises we made to them,” Kaufusi said at the groundbreaking.
The city center is expected to be a 164,000-square-foot building located at the corner of Center Street and 500 West and will anchor the downtown. One half of the city center will be devoted to public safety and include a new police and fire department headquarters.
The existing city center, built in 1972, is not seismically sound and is inadequate in meeting the needs of Provo citizens. It is more cost-effective to replace than rebuild, Kaufusi said.
Provo City Center is being designed using the Construction Manager/General Contractor method. This method — used on both the Recreation Center and Energy Building — allows Provo City, the design team, the contractor and citizens to work together, from design to final construction, to create the most dynamic and cost-effective city center, according to Kaufusi.
“From conception to design, the Provo City Center has been citizen-centered,” Henderson added. “Through analyzing current city operations, as well as incorporating public outreach, we have designed a functional space to meet the daily needs of our citizens. We want the citizen experience to be such that they find it convenient, rather than confusing, as has been the case.”
The entire design is citizen centric in order to deliver Provo City services in the most efficient way possible, Henderson said.
Renderings show a light and open grand lobby, and the interior design includes a modern touch. Rooms, such as the City Council Chambers, are larger and may be transformed for other meeting spaces. All amenities meet standards for accessibility in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
“The internal lobby spine will create an open and inviting feeling to greet our citizens upon their arrival at the seat of our local government,” Henderson said.
The building will include energy-saving measures and is environmentally greener than previous projects, Henderson said.
“The new city center project will lead the way in sustainable building design and efficient operations,” he said.
Construction is expected to meet completion in 2022.