BOISE -- Phase one of a renovation project at Boise's City Hall is now complete, and the City Council held its first meeting in the new space Tuesday night.
Since December 2011, the Boise City Council has been meeting at the state Capitol while renovations and remodels were being done. The rest of the building remained open for regular business throughout the project.
What people will notice inside the building are the lobby and city council chambers remodels, but city engineers said it's really more about what you can't see that made the $8 million phase one necessary.
For the most part, the work that we did is I'll say invisible, when you look, said Rob Bousfield, assistant city engineer and project manager.
For earthquake and fire safety, the building needed to be changed.
We looked at a full range of options. Everything from knocking the building down and rebuilding it, to just fixing it. And what we found was just fixing it was by far the cheapest alternative, said Bousfield.
For seismic improvements, steel beams were added throughout the building and for fire improvements, the atrium was closed in so fire and smoke wouldn't be able to easily travel up through the floors of the building.
While working on those projects, the lobby and council chambers improvements were made.
The structural work really opened up the opportunity to upgrade the most public spaces, the areas where the public really interacts, finds their services, interacts with their elected officials, said Bousfield.
Now, it's on to phase two: A $6 million project that will include revamping the outside to dig down, and prevent future structural damage that is inevitable without a fix.
The plaza, we'll be taking the flags off the plaza. We'll be removing the brickwork, getting down to the liner, replacing it, because it leaks. We'll put it back together, put in place some public art, said Neal Oldemeyer, the Public Works Director.
For the art, three choices are being considered, and the city is taking public comments right now, in the City Hall lobby, if you'd like to weigh in.
To see the ideas, click here. Also, let us know what you think by taking our online poll on this page.
(Idea names from left to right: Brilliant, Boise Globe, and Eyrie. )