Navasota City Manager Brad Stafford says this past summer, city officials decided to initiate remodeling plans for their city hall.
They wanted to determine how they could create room in the building to house the city's public works department. Officials were hoping the renovations that could take place, would allow the police department to follow suit. The goal would be to consolidate three departments and buildings into one.
However, construction experts quickly pointed out some major issues with water leaks and damage, as well as electrical, structural, heating and air conditioning concerns.
"Before we knew it, we were thinking this is going to turn into a lot of money," Stafford said.
Officials decided to have the entire building assessed. What they found were cracks in the walls and out-dated plumbing and electrical systems. Both would have to be replaced entirely.
There are also concerns about the presence of asbestos and lead-based paint in the building. A ten-section assessment report presented to the city council even outlined some violations of the Americans With Disability Act.
Obvious problems include the lack of an elevator. The only way to get up and down from the second and third floors is by taking steep stairs.
It was also noted that wheelchairs could have a hard time making it through the doorways of some of the bathrooms.
On a scale of one to five, with one being unacceptable and five being most acceptable, the majority of the building received ratings of one or two.
"Unfortunately, every aspect of the inspection came back no higher than a three," Stafford said.
According to the report, it could take anywhere from $2.5 to $3 million just to bring city hall up to code.
The question now: where will the money come from, and how will it be used?
Stafford says all possible options will be examined.
"One would be a new building, maybe an existing building, and of course, there's always the option of spending the money to remodel here," Stafford said.
In the coming months, Stafford says the council will accept input from architects, engineers and citizens to help create a safe city hall for the people of Navasota.
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