City Hall offices to re-locate by month’s end

Two trailers were positioned behind City Hall today, signaling the approach of long-awaited renovations to the 101-year-old, storm-damaged structure on Lameuse Street.

The city hopes to award a contract in the next couple of weeks for a nine-month, $625,000 project that is designed to restore the building to its original splendor.

In fact, city divisions housed in the marble building are already in the process of temporarily relocating, and all will be in new temporary quarters by the end of the month.

City Council meetings will be moved to the Biloxi Community Center for Oct. 20 and 27, and Nov. 3 before moving to the Community Development building in mid-November.

Although City Hall personnel will move to temporary locations during the renovations, all phone numbers will remain the same.

Work is expected to begin in October and be completed in June 2010.

“Our plan,” said Mayor A.J. Holloway, “is to re-plaster all of the walls to their original appearance, paint all of the walls, put in new carpeting, re-glaze or replace all of the windows and give the exterior of the building a good washing.”

“Since we’re dealing with a building that is on national, state and local historic registers, we had to have specialists work with the architects on how we would be restoring the building,” said Bill Raymond, the city’s historical administrator. “In fact, in addition to the city building permits, we had to get a state building permit, and we ran everything through FEMA, MEMA, and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.”

City workers and moving companies will be re-locating City Hall staffers over the next couple of weeks.

Among the moves:

— Sept. 16: The city’s Human Resources and Information Systems divisions will move to the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center on Porter Avenue.

— Sept. 16: The Voter Registrar, Citizens Services and Cemetery Registration offices will move to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Municipal Building on MLK Boulevard.

— Sept. 21: The city’s Contracts Division will move to the Public Works building on Magnolia Street.

— Sept. 28: Mayor Holloway, Director of Administration David Staehling, Municipal Clerk Brenda Johnston, all second-flood staffers, and Public Affairs Manager Vincent Creel will relocate to trailers behind City Hall.

— Sept. 28: The Clerks of Council will move to the Bond Grant House on Howard Avenue.

— Sept. 28: The Purchasing Agent will move to the annex next to City Hall.