The Platteville Common Council voted in February to “accept” the recommendations of the city hall task force.
Until the Common Council votes to do more than that, there are no plans for work on the 87-year-old building — either to fix the building’s problems or to follow the task force’s recommendations to move most offices around and move Rountree Gallery into the building.
City Manager Larry Bierke said Monday there was money in the city’s 2014 budget for architectural work on a renovation project. The task force’s recommendation included neither a cost estimate nor a timetable for renovation work.
The Common Council also voted in 2013 to “accept” the report of the Museum Task Force, which was charged with finding a way to make the Rollo Jamison Museum and Mining Museum financially self-sufficient. Since that time, a working group chosen by Common Council President Eileen Nickels has been working on how to implement the recommendations of the task force.
The city hall task force report 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 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 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.
The Municipal Building, which originally housed both the Fire Department and Police Department, opened in 1929, three years after after the previous City Hall was destroyed by fire. The building is also called the Civic Memorial Building, in honor of Platteville’s “Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Volunteer Firemen,” according to a building plaque Three Platteville firefighters died in the Forehand Block fire in 1919.
The Fire Department moved to its current building on East Main Street in 1964, and the Police Department expanded into the former Fire Department truck bays. The Police Department moved to its current building in 2010, and its former first-floor space has been vacant except for storage.