Countless people come and go out of Richmond City Hall every day. The age of the building is now starting to raise concerns about safety.
The city is kicking off a multi-million dollar renovation. It is a renovation that many city officials admit is long overdue.
Have you been to city hall lately? Scaffolding is going up throughout the first floor.
"This is just the beginning," said special capital projects manager John Winter. "They have done a great job to get started."
It is part of a major renovation for a building that dates back to the 1960s.
"I'm actually pretty excited about it," said Winter. "It is long overdue, and we've got a major project that we're finally getting to take care of serious issues in the building."
The city plans to spend at least $7 million to replace the entire first floor ceiling and complete asbestos abatement. They plan to spend another $6 million to replace all seven elevators and install a sprinkler system throughout the entire building. The current sprinkler system stops on the second floor. The new system will cover all 17 floors.
"You could not build a building like this today and not put a sprinkler system in it," noted Winter.
Winter says the long range plan is to also replace the outdate lighting system that operates on one grid. The lights currently stay on all day and night because there is no individual switch to turn off lights from room to room. The is all makes for a massive power bill.
"We are spending money to correct a lot of issues," said Winter. "In terms of whether it be fire alarm and sprinklers, etc."
The first phase of the project could cost at least $15 million to bring the building into the 21st century.
"It is the right thing to do in a high rise office building," said Winter. "It has been long over due."
The asbestos abatement begins next weekend. The entire project could run until next fall.
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