After several years of planning and about six months of construction, Roeland Park City Hall’s $1.45 million refurbishment is finished.
All of the city’s offices, located at 4600 W. 51st St., benefited from the construction, most notably the Police Department. HTK Architects was the architectural firm for the project, while Excel Constructors handled the construction.
“It was under budget, and we got everything we needed to get done,” said Mayor Adrienne Foster. “Excel did an incredible job, and for us to be able to do everything during this economic time, we actually got really good construction bids.”
Because the project cost much less than the city had anticipated, Foster said, it was able to include some additional repairs and replacements. These included replacing the light fixtures and windows in the entire building.
That plays into the city’s goal of improving the building’s energy efficiency. Another element in achieving this goal was getting new heating, air conditioning and air handling systems.
Police Chief Rex Taylor said the Police Department, housed on the first floor of the building, had two major concerns: improving the security of the building and changing the flow of how people moved inside the building.
Previously, police officers had to bring prisoners through public areas to lead them into the building and allow them access to the bathrooms and the courtrooms. Now, there’s a separate door so police can bring people they’ve arrested directly into the department’s offices from the street.
The police also expanded their holding cell to include a toilet, established access to the courtroom directly from the department’s secured area and constructed an interview room where officers can speak privately with people reporting crimes.
The Police Department isn’t the only part of the building to get safety improvements. The entire structure now has a sprinkler system in case of a fire, and the council chamber dais and administrative office desks have bullet-proof shielding.
The building’s original purpose when it was constructed in 1972 was to be a corporate office for Wendy’s. The city moved into the space in 1994. With the construction, city officials were able to change the structure of some of the rooms to be more user-friendly for city operations.
In the city council chamber, there is a new microphone system, and the office phone lines, which had been plagued by static, were replaced.
To accomplish all of this, city employees moved to the third floor for several months, sharing close quarters.
“They were very flexible. They endured a lot, but ultimately … they know it was all worth it,” Foster said.
The elevator has been upgraded. Also on the agenda were several improvements in the bathrooms and other areas to bring the building in line with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The construction was funded by $950,000 in bonds, $150,000 in temporary notes and $400,000 cash through the Tax Increment Finance Fund. The city ended the project with about $50,000 that was budgeted but not used.
These funds could only be used to pay for building improvements, which did not include moveable furniture or appliances. Lowe’s donated a new refrigerator for the break room, as the city could not use money from the project to pay for one.
The city hopes to gain some revenue by renting out the third floor of the building, which was also renovated.