MIAMI – A $2 million Miami Civic Center Rehabilitation Project is well underway. The rehab will add life to the building's use and offer improved security, easier access, and upgrades.

The Miami City Council got an update presentation of the project to redesign and remodel the building, including a detailed floor plan.

“We're here to look at the floor plan and where we're at,” Miami Administrative Services Director Jill Fitzgibbon said. “The next process, after we're okay with this plan, is to start doing detail, which is the mechanical, electrical and plumbing. They (Crossland) will come back to you with a gross maximum price detail for you to approve and it will be up to $2 million, depending on what we come up with.”

The biggest changes to the existing floor plan will be moving all offices down to the ground floor and repurposing the separate council and city court chamber areas to create new office spaces for City staff and administration.

This change will allow for creating an open floor concept with improved security and upgrading of electrical and HVAC systems.

The Miami City Council and Miami Municipal Court will share new chambers in the front of the building now housing the finance department.

“So, people going to court or coming to council meetings will walk in the front door, and they're right there at the meeting,” City Manager Dean Kruithof said.

On Aug. 16, 2016, the city council approved a Construction Manager At-Risk contract with Crossland Construction for a six percent fee. On Jan. 21, 2013, a master contract with GH2 Architects was approved by council, and on Aug. 16, 2016, council approved Work Order 13 for the Miami Civic Center Rehabilitation Project. Compensation is 6.9 percent of the construction manager’s Gross Maximum Price, which will be approved by council upon submittal from Crossland Construction at a later date as part of the Construction Manager At-Risk contract.

The funding utilized for the project will come from the City's Rainy Day Fund from the Fiscal year 2016/2017 budget. The FY 16/17 budget includes the first repayment of $166,610 to the Rainy Day Fund to utilize $2 million from the fund for the rehab project. The plan is to provide for six subsequent annual payments of $305,565 in the coming years’ budgets.

Plans are included in the rehab project for re-roofing the remaining portion of the Civic Center and the Gym.

“We did visit with every end user that is represented on the drawing, and they've all had a chance to give input, several times actually,” Fitzgibbon said.

Miami Facilities Director Kevin Browning said the Banquet Room's kitchen area will remain but will be converted to a smaller caterer's kitchen.

“We're going to do away with all the old appliances and go to a commercial refrigerator and freezer, and then go to a hot plate setting,” he said. “Since we've done some painting and brought the new heating and air units to the Banquet Room, it's really kind of come back alive. We've been getting a lot of events – we've got Ducks Unlimited coming in next month, the Dog Show's back, Tar Creek Conference is back, the high school is utilizing it, so rather than doing away with it, we thought if we could utilize it and make it into a smaller caterer's kitchen we could still access and make use of it.”

Browning said, he and Travis Jones are also working on a capital improvement plan to refurbish the staircase, access ramp and glass doored entry way on the front side of the building.

“We're going to try to push most people through these doors,” Browning said.

Fitzgibbon said this change will keep customers and visitors in the public area and the City offices and staff behind locked doors for security purposes.

Councilman Doug Weston asked if upgrades to the 911 Dispatch Center were to be included in this project.

“It all depends on the funding,” Browning said.

“Our long-term goal is to move dispatch down into the EOC so that becomes a suite above the Emergency Operations Center," Kruithof said. “Then that would free up some room in the police department for offices as well so they're not as crowded. So, again it's just how far we can stretch our dollar right now.”

The colors and finishes in the new areas will match or coordinate with recent remodel design work in the Utility Billing Department.

“We anticipate a lot of the money is going to be spent on stabilization of the building. The roof, the heating and air system and things such as that,” Kruithof said. “The gutting of the new offices will probably be some of the lesser costs of this. But if you remember, I remember seeing them before I became city manager, these horse troughs in the halls and ceilings caving in, you'll know that's a thing of the past, and we just started re-investing in the building and I think it's paying a lot of dividends in the building right now.”

Kruithof said the roofing repair includes the gymnasium.

“As part of this process we've recognized the gym is a gym for this community that a lot of people want to see maintained and depending on where we're at in the budget, as several you have mentioned, you'd like to see the possibility of putting air conditioning in for better air flow so it could be used during the summer months. That will be something we'll keep in mind as we go along.”

The rehab, if well maintained, is expected to prolong the life of the building for another 50 years, according to Fitzgibbon.

Not all of the building is included in this plan, the existing bathrooms are in good shape, workable and accessible.

Crossland representative Danny Langerot said, once the big ticket items of mechanical, electrical and plumbing costs are determined, they will be able to consider the extent of what is possible within the budget.

“There's just a lot of unknowns on our end right now,” Langerot said. “Until we get the engineers involved in decisions to determine what's been done and what hasn't been done and what needs to be brought up to code or efficiency.”

The second level of the building will continue to be used but will be repurposed for areas not necessary for the general public to access, such as meter reading or staff meeting rooms.

The Utility Billing Department received a remodel over the summer with new customer service windows and bays. The drive up customer service window was closed on May 25. The City's utility trust contracted in May and June with area banks to begin accepting utility payments at several locations to give customers other drive-thru options to pay bills.