Construction begins Thursday, Dec. 6 on a new $12.2 million City Hall in Royal Oak. Here are five quick facts about the design of the new City Hall.
1. Better Navigation
All service counters in the new facility will be centrally located in a customer-friendly area on the first floor making it much easier for visitors to navigate.
2. Larger (and More) Meeting Spaces
The city commission chambers in the new City Hall will be located on the first level, have more seating capacity and offer a better overflow option for those meetings that draw shoulder-to-shoulder participation. The overflow area will allow site lines into the chamber and will also have video screens. The new plan also offers more rooms for staff and committee meetings.
3. Energy Efficient
The design approach for the new building targets energy efficiency standards that will save money and help protect the planet.
The new facility prioritizes the accessibility experience, making circulation easier for those using wheelchairs or strollers in the building.
5. Modern Technology
Technology will give the new City Hall a modern twist. Visitors will be able to fill out online applications at conveniently located user-friendly kiosks.
During construction, 186-parking spaces will be taken offline to make room for materials and equipment. The city has put together a guide to help visitors navigate alternative parking spaces in the vicinity. The guide can be downloaded at www.rethinkro.com. A brand new parking garage one block west of the construction site is scheduled to bring 581 parking spaces to the area in June 2019.
The Royal Oak Farmers Market will remain open during the construction. Market officials have been working on solutions to make the market user-friendly during the construction, including offering free valet parking and shopping carts.
Once the new City Hall and police station (tentatively scheduled to begin construction in January) are completed, the old buildings will be torn down. Built nearly seven decades ago, these buildings were not designed for the kinds of uses the city needs today and in the future. The work required to renovate and fix numerous problems would be too extensive and expensive to repair, according to a study commissioned from Plante Moran CRESA.
After the buildings are demolished, construction will begin on a new 2-acre downtown park. Residents have played an integral role in helping direct the look and feel of the new green space. The community will get its first look at the results of months of public engagement on Dec. 12 at 6:00 p.m. when the Downtown Park Task Force meets in Room 315 at City Hall. The presentation will be repeated to the Royal Oak City Commission on Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 315 at City Hall.
You can learn more about the City Hall project, including reviewing the plans of the two-story building, at www.rethinkro.com.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was corrected to reflect the construction will begin on Thursday Dec. 6.