TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – The City of Twin Falls is moving forward with transforming a former downtown furniture store into a modern City Hall and creating a larger police administration complex at the current city offices.

Photo by Andrew Weeks
The old Banner Furniture building at 201 Main Ave. East in Twin Falls is the future site of a new and more modern City Hall.

The City Council on Tuesday approved additional money for the Twin Falls City Hall and Public Safety Campus project.

Two items in particular raised the cost: redesigning the location of the Council chambers from the third floor of the old Banner Furniture building to the first floor; and doing away with a second-floor mezzanine to create more office space.

“We listened to the citizens,” City Manager Travis Rothweiler told NewsRadio1310. “We had four public engagement processes that resulted in the decision that the Council chambers should be accessible and easily reached. Also, that it be in a place that’s not so intimidating. We want to make sure it is in an environment as welcoming as possible and that citizens feel comfortable engaging with elected officials.”

That decision added $470,000 to the project. The extra office space on the second floor, which kicked the price tag up another $800,000, will better serve the day-today functions of a new city hall.

Rothweiler said the city has been preparing financially for years for improvements to downtown.

“We have $926,000 of additional money from impact fees on building permits in our fund for the project,” he said. “We’ve been receiving these fees for improvements since the mid-2000s.”

It also has $15 million in unrestricted cash reserves available by removing 25 percent off cash expenditures each year and locking them away.

Before the city decided on the Banner building as the site for the future City Hall, it formed a citizens committee that explored two other options: the old St. Luke’s clinic off Shoshone Avenue, and constructing a brand new building.

The committee voted 17-5 in favor of the Banner building because it was most economical for the city and for its proximity downtown and the larger Renaissance project. The future 42,000-square-foot City Hall will accommodate needs for the next 40 to 50 years, Rothweiler said.

In fall 2014, total project cost was estimated at $7.1 million. Adjusting for inflation and the additional costs, he said, increased it to $9.5 million.

The next steps in the project are to complete construction plans and find a temporary location for city personnel before construction begins. A temporary location has not yet been determined, Rothweiler said, but the current city offices will be vacated sometime this spring.

Construction of the Public Safety Campus and new the City Hall will take place simultaneously. Both are scheduled for completion in 2017.