|Uptown Station offices opening soon|
|Written by Drew Zimmerman, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Tuesday, 19 June 2012 16:08|
Workers add the finishing touches to new City Hall, now to be located north of Amtrak station
On June 25, the Town of Normal’s City Hall offices, which include the administrative offices, city clerk, legal department, finance department, human resources and information technology, will be open at the new Uptown Station.
These new offices will be opening on the second and third floors of the station. A 380-space parking deck will also be open so that people can get used to the parking control system, according to Wayne Aldrich, Uptown development director. Parking will be free for the first hour and free parking will be available from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.
The offices were originally meant to open on June 18, but were pushed back a week to provide more time for construction.
The second floor of Uptown Station will be reserved for the administrative offices, which include the offices of the Normal City Manager and the mayor of Normal, the city clerk’s office, and the legal department. The third floor will be for the finance department, human resources, and information technology
The first floor, which will serve as the transportation hub of the building and will also include a Subway restaurant, and the fourth floor, which will include new City Council chambers and an executive board room, will still be under construction.
"It may be after the fourteenth when Amtrak trains can operate and the bus services begin. We don’t want to open until Amtrak is ready because when they move here, it will be an overnight thing. Our hope is that the buses will be operating before students return in August," Aldrich said.
The level of finish on the fourth floor is a little higher than the other floors and there are sophisticated monitoring systems on the first floor that are aiming to be completed before Amtrak moves, Aldrich added.
On July 2, the first town council meeting will occur on the fourth floor of the building, and the entire facility will be open on the July 14 dedication.
Space was one of the biggest problems in the current City Hall building.
"One thing people don’t realize is the space issues. There has been significant expanses to accommodate specific needs, and there is enough space now to satisfy the town’s needs for quite a while," Jason Chambers, Normal town councilman, said.
On the fourth floor, in addition to a multipurpose meeting room and an information technology training room, there is also space for future expansion.
"There is a lot more space and light, including conferencing space, which we were tight on in the existing space. There will be more audio and visual equipment and bigger space in the council chamber, which makes it more possible for the audience to see visual displays and provide more opportunity for public use," Aldrich said.
With only weeks to go before Uptown Station is open is officially open after its groundbreaking two years ago, the pressure is on to finish construction, but it is also a very exciting process, according to Aldrich.
"It’s very exciting, but there are also a lot of components. It’s not just an office building. It’s a ‘living building,' which is much more complex and requires a lot of thought.
"But the level of finish and quality is good, and it is a very nice public building," Aldrich said.