Municipal Building

No unexpected difficulties have risen in the renovation of the Municipal Building.

JOHN HART -- State Journal

Renovations to the Madison Municipal Building are underway to preserve the historic character of the 88-year-old structure.

All city agencies moved out of the Municipal Building last year to prepare for the extensive renovations, but the City Council faced a cost setback in April that stalled the beginning of construction. All of the proposals the city received came in almost 50 percent higher than the city’s budget.

“The renovation is being done in a very historically sensitive way,” which could be why the initial proposals came in over budget, said Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, who represents the core of Downtown.

After modifying the requirements of the request for proposals, the city received a bid within the budget requirements from J.P. Cullen & Sons, which was awarded the contract.

Although the project started two months after the city’s originally planned date, the city’s project spokesman Michael Schuchardt said the renovations have gone as expected, and the project should be done by fall 2018.

So far, much of the work being done in the Municipal Building includes preservation of historic assets. Workers have removed historic fixtures for protection while crews renovate — they will be reinstalled later in the renovation process. Surfaces like the marble stairs and wooden wainscoting have also been covered for protection.

Health concerns have been addressed with the hazmat asbestos removal from multiple elements in the building, Schuchardt said.

Progress is also being made in the back of the building. Construction of the annex addition behind the rooftop courtyard is underway, Schuchardt said, and the crew has begun the masonry work at the courtyard as well.

Much is still left to be done, Schuchardt said. The historic windows and doors of the building need to be rehabilitated or replaced with replicas, and the masonry around the building’s perimeter needs to be rehabilitated as well.

Not all of the renovations are about maintaining the old, though. A new roof along with new landscaping, railings and lighting will be installed, Schuchardt said, and new electrical and plumbing systems will be put in place throughout the building.

Schuchardt said the project is on its way to meet its recycling and reuse goals by donating any reusable building elements.

“Sector 67 and Habitat for Humanity have removed a significant amount of fixtures, equipment (and) building materials for re-use/repurposing,” Schuchardt said.

Verveer said that the Municipal Building will be more welcoming and comfortable for both city employees and residents once the renovation is complete. It will include new spaces for neighborhood meetings, art displays and other public events.

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Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.