North Liberty gives update on $9.9M city hall project

The city hall will be part of a newly designed civic campus.

A rendering of North Liberty's new city hall, set to begin construction in October. CREDIT CITY OF NORTH LIBERTY

City officials and Shive-Hattery designers gave North Liberty residents a glimpse into the future on March 24 by providing an update on the city hall project during an online open house. Sitting on the corner of N Main St. and W Cherry St. alongside N Dubuque St, the project will cost an estimated $9.9 million.

The new facility will bring sprawled out departments — such as city clerks, administration planning, building inspection and permits, legal, councilmembers and the communications office — together under one roof, as well as in close proximity to the local police and fire stations.

City Administrator Ryan Heair said during the meeting that City Hall has tried to relocate several times since he assumed his role with the city.

“Where we are at now is leased facility…that we thought would last three to five years,” said Mr. Heair. “It’s been 12 or 13 now, so it’s getting a little cramped in here. We did evaluate whether or not we should purchase this entire complex versus building new, but as it turned out, the costs would be similar but the long-term benefits would not be what we could get in a new facility in terms of technology, security and accessibility.”

Construction takes place near the site of the future North Liberty City Hall. CREDIT NOAH TONG

“There are existing utilities that ran through the site, and we spent the last year working with utility companies,” said Kevin Trom, project manager for Shive-Hattery. “If you’ve driven by, you’ve probably seen a lot of mess out there. That is the private utilities moving their stuff out of the way.”

The civic center will have ample open space, with the possibility of the City Hall using this space to expand by double in size in the future, if needed. A 76-space parking lot will be created with an electric vehicle charging space, while the existing asphalt lot with 52 spaces will be eliminated.

The north side of the building will house the council chambers and a community training room with a fully operable glass wall. CREDIT CITY OF NORTH LIBERTY

City council meetings will be held in the new city hall. The room, inspired by similar city council chambers in Iowa, should have an open feel with plenty of natural light, said Natalie Oppedal, a Shive-Hattery architect.

“We looked at a number of cities in Iowa and how they approached the council chamber,” said Ms. Oppedal. “As we went through, we definitely wanted to include natural light.

The council chambers will have TVs on the sidewalls and an entrance at the back of the room. CREDIT CITY OF NORTH LIBERTY

“We are going to send this plan out for bids in August of this year, take bids on Sept. 6 and start construction yet this year in October,” said Mr. Trom. “There are some old single-family homes on this site and we want to do some over-excavation of some soils this fall so that it has a chance to settle this winter.”

They hope the new facility will be completed by May 2024.

Earlier this month, the North Liberty City Council took the first steps in approving 110 single-family lots, housing geared toward older individuals, as well as multifamily housing options.

A 20,910-square-foot micro-brewery, restaurant and entertainment facility is expected to open its doors in North Liberty in 2023.