The City of Newport has a new city hall location, and it does not disappoint. The new City Hall for Newport is located at 2060 1st Ave, just a few short blocks behind Tinucci’s at the corner of Maxwell Avenue and 1st St.
The first city hall was built in 1903 which served the community until the mid-1980’s when space became an issue.
“About 40 years ago, our administrative staff had to move out of that building because it wasn’t large enough,” explained Mayor Laurie Elliot. “It was a challenge and a dream for many city councils to build a new city hall. That was the intent 40 years ago, but it kept getting passed down from city council to city council to city counago, but it kept getting passed down from city council to city council to city council until a few years ago when it became a critical issue. Studies showed significant building issues and fire stations one and two with high repair costs, which ultimately would only be a temporary solution. We also knew our administrative staff and law enforcement simply were not fitting in the city hall we were in. We looked to retrofit buildings in the community. That was also high cost but never really met the needs of what we were looking for. It became apparent to the city council that we could no longer leave this for another city council to solve.”
That led to the current building to enter the planning stage. The council knew they had to solve the problem now and they had to include room for future expansion. The new building is ADA compliant filled with many top-of-the-line safety features and amenities for both law enforcement and fire/emergency medical services. There are ample training rooms and meeting spaces, office spaces and the council chambers are custom built for both classic council meetings plus adding technology into the meeting. The goal was to build a 100 year building, a building that will last the city well into the future.
The city also benefitted from the timing of the construction, explained Mayor Elliot.
“One of the questions I get is how are we paying for this? I’ve met a lot of new residential and commercial construction, which brought in additional property taxes. We benefited from some very low interest rates less than two percent. Because of COVID slowed construction we got great bids for the work because construction companies were looking for work to do. And lastly, we were able to bring three buildings into one, a city hall, a fire station, and a fire station. With that you get what they call, economies of scale, one parking lot to clean, one set of sidewalks, one HVAC system, rather than three separate buildings that we’re trying to maintain and manage all of this is what makes this a really good decision. And a really good time for us to be building a new building.”
The new facility brings everyone with the city under one roof increasing the efficiency of city staff. The state-of-the-art equipment mentioned above includes a much-improved storage area for the fire department. The biggest piece of the gear storage for the firefighters is the location. Previously, the storage for gear was very close to the exhaust of the trucks and the ventilation was not strong enough to protect the crews as they put their gear on. Now, they have a separate space to keep their gear, there are also two new devices to help evacuate any smoke or silt remnants from the clothing and gear, and there are decontamination showers that help open the pores and flush the skin to make it free from contaminants. All of this so the crews are not carrying that crud home to their families. It is a much safer and healthier environment for all the workers involved. On the law enforcement side, the garage has heated floors to help keep the floors dry and safe in the winter as well as to protect the gear in the patrol cars from getting too cold when they are not running.
From an architectural standpoint, the building is beautiful, with amble natural light in the office and garage spaces. The floor plan is open where it needs to be and still allows privacy as needed in the cubicles and offices. The meeting and training areas are huge, and the building is very welcoming to the public. Overall, the project looks to be perfectly executed to provide services for decades to the City of Newport and its residents.