City Hall move out looms | ParkRecord.com

City Hall move out looms

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Cheat sheets might be required starting early next year if someone has dealings with City Hall: the departments inside must pack up and move to new, temporary space.

Park City officials have started devising plans to leave the Marsac Building, the historic Old Town structure that houses municipal offices, to allow construction crews to make it safer during earthquakes, among other planned upgrades.

The plans, recently presented to Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council, envision temporary quarters in Old Town, including in buildings like the Park City Library and Education Center and Miners Hospital. The plans also call for some departments to move into temporary trailers, similar to the arrangement during the renovation of Park City High School.

"You’re going to see the same smiling face," says Alison Butz, a City Hall staffer who is assisting with the plans.

The government wants to situate the departments close to each other and the plans center the city’s operations near the Library and Education Center, 1255 Park Ave. Departments like Planning and Building would be in trailers across the street, City Hall’s attorneys would move into space at the nearby Park Avenue fire station and the offices of Mayor Dana Williams and City Manager Tom Bakaly would be put into Miners Hospital, also nearby. Three double-wide trailers and one single-wide might be needed.

The closeness of the locations, Butz says, is desired. She says there were ideas to put all the displaced staffers in one spot, such as in trailers on the field north of the Library and Education Center, but those were scrapped.

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"We call it kind of a campus feel. You can walk to everything," she says.

Butz admits the quarters will be more cramped than those at City Hall and she says staffers will be asked beforehand to pack up some of their files and send them to an outside storage spot instead of taking them with them. There will be conference spaces for small meetings and the bigger meetings, like those of the City Council and Planning Commission, will be moved to the Santy Auditorium.

"It’s going to be tighter than it is now," Butz says.

Officials have long realized that the building required upgrades. Ron Ivie, the chief building official, in the 1990s suggested City Hall is not safe if an earthquake measuring at least 5.0 on the Richter scale hit. The government also wants to make the building easier to navigate for handicapped people, including installing an elevator.

The 24,000-square-foot building, 445 Marsac Ave., dates to 1936, when it was put up as a New Deal project, and was a schoolhouse until 1979. The municipal offices have resided in the building since 1983. City leaders want to fix up the Marsac Building rather than bulldoze it and put up a new building. Renovating it, they say, is more expensive but, by doing so, officials say they are committed to Park City’s historic buildings.

Butz says City Hall plans a public-relations campaign closer to when the work starts. The city wants to post information on City Hall’s World Wide Web site, put it in a guide for citizens, include it in water-bill mailings and garner media coverage. Signs will point people to the relocated offices.

Roger Harlan, a veteran City Councilman, admits the work will be disruptive and says a staffers’ public-relations campaign is needed. He expects, though, attendance at City Council meetings will not drop.

"I hope minimal. I really hope very, very little," he says about the potential of confusion. "Time will tell whether that hope proves to be the case."

Moving the offices into the temporary spaces is estimated to cost about $150,000 and the renovations of the Marsac Building are pegged at $3.5 million. The timing of the work on the Marsac Building depends on when crews finish a police station under construction at Snow Creek and complete a building next to the China Bridge parking structure. That building, where KPCW intends to move from the Marsac Building, has not started but Butz says it could be done in early 2008.

Officials hope Parkites will still attend government meetings and they expect the disparate offices will not thwart people with business with City Hall.

"Those that are involved will stay involved. Those that want to be involved will find us," Butz says.