GALLIPOLIS — The City of Gallipolis is moving forward with plans to erect a city administrative building in the 300 block of Third Avenue.
During a regular meeting of the Gallipolis City Commission on Tuesday evening, the commission passed an emergency resolution authorizing the city manager to advertise for bids for the construction of the municipal building that will house the administrative offices.
A second public hearing was held prior to the reading of the resolution and Project Engineer Randy Breech reiterated the facts about the design and layout for the facility that will be constructed next to People’s Bank.
“This building, once again, is 5,750 square feet. That is about three and a half times the size of the average home, so, it is a pretty good size building. It will house all the administrative offices for 13 employees,” Breech said. “The justice center that is being built now — that is about 35 percent complete — houses the police and the municipal court. They’ll be in their building before we are in this one, but, if everything goes well with the bidding, we won’t be too far behind.”
The engineer’s estimate for the administrative facility, according to Breech, is close to $600,000. Moreover, by bidding out the project as soon as possible Breech is hopeful that contractors will return the best possible price for the construction of the facility.
“We are trying to get this thing bid out just as soon as we can,” Breech said. “There are simple things like asphalt that have come up 30 percent in a year and a half. Concrete is pretty close to that. Everything just keeps going up and up and up.
“Our hope is, what we’re seeing in the justice center and what we are being able to build it for, which is well under my estimate, that that will repeat itself here,” he said. “We have several contractors just chomping at the bit to get in here. I am already aware of 11 contractors within three counties very interested in bidding this project.”
According to Breech, the building will feature both exterior restrooms and a drive through window that will allow the public to easily make their utility payments.
The idea of public restrooms in the downtown area has long been discussed by city officials and Breech is hopeful that the new building that features public restrooms will be beneficial to the downtown area.
“In the past, we’ve looked at lots of ideas for getting public restrooms downtown, including even over the hill from the park,” Breech said. “This building here represents the best-cost scenario, I think, on getting a public restroom downtown and being right there at the municipal parking lot, of course, makes that an excellent location for people to use it.”
Breech reported that the two separate male and female restrooms will be constructed in such a way that they are “vandal proof” and will only be accessible from outside of the building. Access cannot be gain to the administrative facility through the public restrooms.
According to Gallipolis City Manager Randy Finney, the area will be well-lit in the nighttime hours and will not be open for the use of the public 24-hours a day.
“It’s going to be closed by 9 o’clock unless there is some event going on downtown, then it will be closed at 11 p.m.,” Finney said. “There are also plans to have a camera on the outside.”
During the meeting, a city resident inquired as to whether or not a walkway or other path would be available for individuals visiting the park wishing to use the public restrooms located in the municipal parking area.
“Right now, you would have to either have to go around to Court or State [streets] and come around to this facility, but there is still that one open property right there in the middle of the 300 block and I’m not sure what the plans are for that property,” Breech said. “It would be nice [to have a walkway] and that is something that we could certainly look at.”
Aesthetically, the building will be very similar to the city justice center, according to Breech, and will feature a brick and EIFS (similar to stucco) facade.
“This building is just a miniature version of looking at [the city justice center] building,” Breech said.
A canopy will also be over the entrance to the facility that will face Court Street. The back of the building and drive through will face People’s Bank and, during the discussion, City Commissioner Mike Brown inquired why the structure would face down river and not Third Avenue.
“It would look much better if it was facing Third Avenue,” Brown said.
Breech stated that the reasoning behind the placement for the facility is based on parking in the area. The current placement, according to Breech, will limit the number of parking spaces in the municipal parking area that would be removed during construction.
“It’s basically being done for the parking situation,” Breech answered. “If we do what we’re looking at doing with the building facing [Court Street] we lose 15 parking spaces, and, if we were to turn the building 90 degrees, we’re going to lose about 30 parking spaces. That was one of the primary issues.”
Reportedly, approximately 100 spaces will be available in the Gallipolis municipal parking lot post construction of the city’s administrative building. Currently, there are 116 spaces for the use of the public in the municipal parking area.