The City of Platteville has a number of large-ticket projects in mind for the future, including street reconstruction and a new fire station.
Another on the list is the building in which most city employees work, and where the Platteville Common Council holds its meetings — meetings that sometimes feature dripping water from the roof into buckets in the council chambers.
The task force charged with determining what should be done with the building, which opened in 1927, gave the Common Council a series of recommendations Jan. 14.
The task force recommends that the city:
• Move all the Municipal Building’s second-floor offices to the first floor, including into the former police department space on the northeast side of the building, so that all Municipal Building employees work on the first floor.
• Move the Rountree Gallery into the current council chambers on the northeast side of the second floor.
• Convert the rest of the second floor to meeting and community space.
The recommendations come with no attached price tag or construction schedule. Task force chair Troy Maggied said the unanimous recommendation of those asked was to remain in the Municipal Building, even though, he said, “folks kind of feel like they’re in a run-down building.”
The proposal would flip the locations of the city manager and city clerk’s offices with the city’s Water and Sewer Department offices on either side of the Municipal Building’s front door, on the west side of the building. The Planning and Development, Public Works and Recreation offices, now on the second floor, would move into the former police department space on the first floor.
The plan also includes outside access to a unisex bathroom on the north side of the building.
The task force’s proposal moves the Common Council out of its current chambers into two spaces. Lightly attended meetings would be held in what now is the Public Works Department offices in the northwest corner of the second floor. Meetings with more attendance would be held in the Platteville Community Auditorium, with aldermen on the stage.
Rountree Gallery would move from its current location at 385 E. Main St. to what now are the council chambers. The task force considered, but rejected, an additional proposal to move the Platteville Senior Center into the Municipal Building.
The rest of the second floor would consist of conference and small group meeting rooms, plus a room for community use or possible rental. A tech closet and information technology office would be included on the first floor north of the auditorium.
The recommendations also include upgrading mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment, as well as upgrading doors and windows. Maggied said the Lancaster city hall renovation and the Mineral Point city hall/library renovation “underspent” on doors and windows, and officials in those cities “now regret doing so.”
The recommendations also include upgrading building security, and moving toward “cloud” offsite electronic storage. The task force also recommends modernizing or restoring the building “to historical condition,” including the ability to retrofit for future space needs.
Though a schedule has not been proposed, Maggied said, “A contractor would love to have everybody out of the building, but then again where are they going to go” during construction.
The Municipal Building, which originally housed both the Fire Department and Police Department, opened in 1927. The Fire Department moved to its current building on East Main Street in 1964, and the Police Department expanded into former Fire Department truck bays. The Police Department moved to its current building in 2010, and its former space has been vacant except for storage.
Reactions of aldermen to the task force report were generally positive.
At-large Ald. Mike Denn said the proposal had “excellent utilization of the space this building has.”
“This building is beautiful, and if we don’t do something it’s going to collapse on itself,” said District 1 Ald. Barb Stockhausen.