$15.9M Ridgeland City Hall now open
The $15.9 million Ridgeland City Hall on School Street and U.S. 51 is open for business as city departments adjust to their new surroundings.
“We are settling in really good,” Ridgeland Mayor Gene F. McGee said on Wednesday. “Our department heads and employees have done a good job moving in. We still have some adjustments to make but this building puts us in a position to serve the city and the public in a positive way for many, many years to come.”
City officials conducted the first order of business in the new building Tuesday night with a breezy meeting.
The meeting included a change order, $253 for Shivers Electric to install an outlet in one of the front rooms where some artifacts, documents and other historical pieces will be displayed, Community Development Director Alan Hart said.
City Attorney John Scanlon presented a monitoring agreement between the city and B&E Communications.
Scanlon said it was required since the new building has an elevator and noted that it was similar to what they had in place at the police station across the street.
The agreement cost the city $1,077.
Both items passed unanimously, 7-0, on the consent agenda.
The building has been under construction since August 2019.
Drawings were presented to the board as far back as 2014 but city officials had been talking about the project for longer than that.
The master plan which includes the City Hall was developed and approved in 2008.
The project has been paid for from just under $20 million in bonds issued to fund major capital projects in 2019.
Hart said after the meeting that they had moved everything in the 30,000 square foot building on Monday in under two and a half hours.
“We got all hands on deck,” Hart said. “We started around 7:15 that morning and had everything moved in by about 9:30.”
There are still boxes to unpack, pictures to hang and soap dispensers to fill throughout the building but Hart said city employees and officials are ready to conduct business.
He added that the real accomplishment was moving in truckloads of heavy furniture without damaging or scratching any of the brand new walls.
On Monday, receptionist Cindy Boatner sat at her desk in the entry hall greeting visitors Monday with boxes sitting on her desk.
The facility is located in the Ridgeland City Center at U.S. 51 and School Street.
McGee stood in the hallway and said city workers were busy unpacking and getting moved in Monday. Workers in the first-floor Ridgeland Public Works office were unpacking boxes and moving items into their new offices.
Members of the Historical Society and Historical Committee of Ridgeland worked setting up a display in a room just off the city center entryway.
Outside, crews worked on the shoulder near the parking lot along School Street.
The city has a dedication and flag-raising ceremony scheduled for Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, a Sunday.
On Friday, the flag was retired at the place Ridgeland called City Hall at the corner of Lake Harbour and Highway 51 for over 30 years and employees bid farewell.
The board had declared the old building surplus property at the first meeting in August 2019.
The city plans to sell the building. They have not opened another round of bidding after they rejected a single bid received in July of last year on the grounds that the bid was lower than expected.
At that time, Hart had suggested that they assess some elements of their proposal to make the bid more attractive.
City officials have always said that a key component of selling the current building has been the ability to reject any bids they do not like.
The city acquired the building in 1986. McGee remembers it had housed a printing company and was largely warehouse space.
A plaque at the old City Hall commemorates the dedication of the building on April 14, 1987. Hite B. Wolcott was mayor and McGee was one of six aldermen at the time.