02/29/04 — Architects present proposal for city hall renovation

View Archive

Architects present proposal for city hall renovation

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on February 29, 2004 2:14 AM

Goldsboro council members got their first view last week of what the new City Hall will look like, and they liked what they saw.

"This is exciting, and I think the citizens will like it," said Mayor Al King. "There has been so much attention to detail."

Grimsely and Taylor Hobbs from Partin & Hobbs Architects presented a series of drawings of proposed renovations to City Hall and new additions during the council's retreat in Wrightesville Beach. The project is estimated to cost $5 million.

The proposal consists of two buildings, preservation of the historic building, and a new 30,000-square-foot building that would be connected by a bridge.

Grimsely Hobbs recommended that the annex building be torn down, because it wasn't worthy of renovation.

"It's more important that historic City Hall have room," he said. "The area where the annex is should be a parking lot."

The new addition would be set back from the historic building, so the historic structure would dominate. The addition would be similar in style to City Hall, but it won't be an imitation.

"It's important not to block the view," Hobbs said. "We don't want the addition to compete with the historic building. You can't win competing because it's too powerful, so it needs to be a supportive structure."

Setting the new building back will also provide room for a plaza with a fountain, and a pedestrian walkway will separate the two buildings.

"This will be one of the few real public outdoor areas in the city," Hobbs said. "Goldsboro doesn't have a lot of public urban space. This will start to hint at what it can be."

The second-story bridge will be encased in glass and will glow at night, Hobbs said.

The two-phase project will take about two years to complete.

Phase I would include construction of the new addition and of a 75-space parking lot on the east side of the complex. The first phase would cost about $3.5 million.

Phase II would include the renovation and restoration of the first and second floors of City Hall, plus demolition of the annex. The bridge and additional parking lot would also be built during the second phase. This phase is estimated to cost $1.5 million.

City Manager Richard Slozak said that building the project in two phases would save money.

The statues of "Liberty" and "Justice" on the roof of the old building would also be restored. "They are made of soft metal, so that when the wind blows they move," Hobbs said. "We'll isolate them and make them waterproof."

The cupola will need some minor repairs, and the architects recommend putting a clock on one side of it.

Hobbs was concerned about the appearance of the buildings on John Street. "The backs of the buildings are unsightly," he said.

The council discussed ways to handle those buildings, including buying the buildings or getting the owners to renovate them.

Slozak said he wasn't sure the buildings were worth renovating, but if the property were bought by the city, the area could be turned into another parking place.

Councilman Chuck Allen wanted to know how long it would take before the first phase could go out for bids.

Hobbs said it would probably take until January 2005 before it was ready for bid.

"I think the citizens want it as soon as possible," Allen said.

Councilman Jimmy Bryan said the building would give downtown a little boost.

"It's something to be proud of and build on," he said.