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Murray Journal

Murray City Hall ready for its big debut

Jun 02, 2023 01:07PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Murray City will officially open its new City Hall on June 29, a modern and functional space that will serve as the hub of the city’s government for years to come. Murray City Mayor Brett Hales shared insights on the features and amenities of the new facility, the challenges faced during planning and construction, and the benefits that the new City Hall will bring to the community.

“Overall, the new Murray City Hall is an impressive facility that will serve as the heart of our city’s government for years to come. We are excited to welcome visitors and residents alike to experience all that it has to offer,” Hales said.

Among all things, the new Murray City Hall is equipped with a range of essential city services, such as finance and administration, human resources, and community development, all housed in a single, centralized location. Mayor Hales also highlighted the larger and more comfortable City Council chambers, more meeting spaces for departments, and a separate but connected two-story building for the police department, which features a more extensive evidence storage and processing area, a locker room for officers, and a workout space available to all employees.

“In addition to its functional benefits, the new city hall is also an important symbol of our city’s commitment to progress and growth. By investing in a new, state-of-the-art facility, we demonstrate our dedication to providing the best possible services and resources to our residents and businesses,” Hales said.

Planning and construction of the new building began in October 2018 with an RFP for an architect and construction manager, and the groundbreaking took place in October 2019. Hales noted that the site required a cell tower relocation, which proved to be challenging, as it required extensive coordination with the cell tower company and careful planning to ensure its safe and efficient removal. Furthermore, challenges related to COVID-19 resulted in an increase in workforce sick days, material supply chain costs and delivery delays.

According to Hales, “The design of the new Murray City Hall was heavily influenced by the needs and preferences of the city council and staff. One of the key themes that emerged from these outreach efforts was a desire for a building that was modern, functional and environmentally sustainable. Based on this feedback, we worked with our architecture team, GSBS, to develop a plan for a state-of-the-art facility that incorporates the latest in sustainable design practices and features a range of modern amenities.”

As a result of city employee feedback, the building also features additional meeting spaces, eliminating the need for departments to juggle schedules to meet. The Police Department has a separate but connected headquarters. Police, firefighters and other city personnel can utilize the exercise room. Evidence storage has significantly increased from its present location, being protectively and environmentally secure. This facility will also be able to coordinate police efforts with upgraded communication.

However, as with any significant infrastructure project, there are considerations regarding the impact on the city’s budget and finances in the short and long term.

In the short term, one of the concerns is the potential increase in utility expenses while operating both the new city hall and the current city hall. According to Hales, with the new building being at least twice the square footage of the previous facility, there may be an initial surge in utility costs. However, city officials are optimistic that the new city hall’s energy-efficient design will help mitigate the impact on expenses. By incorporating sustainable practices and modern technologies, the hope is that the utility costs will not significantly rise, ultimately resulting in long-term savings for the city.

To finance the construction of the new city hall, the Municipal Building Authority issued $31,310,000 in bonds. These bonds have a 30-year term, and the annual debt service amounts to approximately $1.825 million. The city will fund these payments from its revenues, with the final payment due on December 1, 2050. While this investment will notably impact the city’s budget over the next three decades, Hales emphasizes that it is a strategic move for the future. 

Hales said, “It is an investment in the city’s future, and the long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term costs.”

Consequently, completing the new city hall is not the end of Murray’s development plans. Hales states that the surrounding properties will also change in the future. The Townsend Home, located across the street from City Hall, will be relocated to a site near the Murray Chapel this summer. This move will open up possibilities for a business to purchase and renovate the historic home into office space. Additionally, the city hopes to sell the Murray Chapel itself, intending to convert it into office space. These developments are expected to generate increased interest in the area, attracting developers and fostering further growth.

To celebrate the opening of the new city hall, a grand opening celebration is scheduled for Thursday, June 29. Hales invites the public to attend the event, featuring a short presentation, a ceremonial building opening and a fireworks display. Food trucks, fun gifts and guided tours of the new facility will also be available. The event will occur from 4 to 7 p.m., with the official opening ceremony scheduled for 5 p.m. λ