Floor plan

Midland Town Hall Needs Improvements

From security improvements to replacing old technology, Midland City Hall needs an upgrade.

Improvements to the building, which opened to the public in 1989, will be considered for the city’s 2022/23 fiscal year budget.

City Manager Brad Kaye said the building, located at 333 W. Ellsworth St., is a 1980s-style open-plan concept. However, he said the style floor plan did not allow for security in its offices and lobby.

Security measures would be implemented in the upstairs hallways, entrances and downstairs lobby making them more “controlled”, Kaye said. This means that people could not cross these points without a pass or an escort from a member of staff. From floor to ceiling, the building would be updated with secure counters, glass and doors.

“The modern world, quite frankly, (has) challenges that government buildings and public buildings in general face,” Kaye said. “The (city) staff really don’t have good, solid protection in place, in case something goes wrong and someone comes in with bad intentions.”

He added that city staff are embroiled in angry confrontations, whether over water bills or election complaints. Some of them get to the level where others need to go to the lobby to defuse the situation, he said. Conference room areas could be added to the building, and the public would likely use them more rather than returning to the staff areas.

The town hall’s problems do not stop with outdated security measures. The building’s boiler is also reaching the end of its expected life. Even in council chambers there are signs peeling off, he said.

In council rooms, they would be looking for upgraded monitors and displays, including displays in council offices so council members can function a bit more efficiently, Kaye said.

Whether the upgrades are done in one large project or in several over a few years depends on the funding they receive, Kaye said. The city is working on a budget for the next fiscal year, 2022/23, and improvements to City Hall would be part of the budget conversation. The Board’s role in the reconstruction would be to identify funds and approve them through a budget.

The city doesn’t have a current estimate for the cost of the improvements, but Kaye said an early estimate in 2019 put the expense at around $3 million to $4 million. With price changes and labor cost increases since then, he is unsure of the current total.

“The building is getting old and it needs to be updated,” Kaye said. “The idea was, ‘Let’s make it safer, make it more efficient rather than just gutting it and rebuilding exactly what was here. “”