The Flagstaff City Council chambers are on schedule to reopen in time to host the council’s August 15 meeting, its first meeting after the summer recess.
In March, city staff noticed some buckling in one of the trusses on the southeast side of the room, Public Works Director Andy Bertelsen said. The room was immediately closed and meetings have been held in other locations while construction workers repair the damage.
So far, repairs have cost the city about $600,000, Bertelsen said, but the city’s insurance carriers are expected to cover most, if not all, of that cost.
“The council chamber is unique, almost a separate building from City Hall,” Bertelsen said. “We don’t have concerns about any other areas of City Hall.”
The trusses and beams in the chambers were part of the building’s original design. The building first opened in 1983.
At the time of construction, workers used locally harvested beams to create the roof, Bertelsen said.
“I don’t feel like there were any corners cut,” he said. “This was solid construction at the time.”
The city has attributed the structural concern to heavy snow and rainfall, which can accumulate on the roof, he said.
“The roof tends to hold the snow loads, which can compound over time,” he said.
Right now, the city does not have any other aging buildings that pose a concern, he said.
The city took the opportunity while the chamber was closed to do some audio and visual work to improve the sound in the room, as well as open up an area in the back of the chamber that used to be a “media room,” Bertelsen said.
“There aren’t any hugely noticeable differences, but it will be a nicely done, finished project,” he said.
Loven Construction, a Flagstaff-based company, has been working on the chambers, Bertelsen said. While the roof has been under construction, the council has had to meet at other locations, usually the Coconino County Board of Supervisors chambers.
“The construction schedule we’ve maintained has been amplified, we mobilized quickly to try to finish the roof by August 15,” Betelsen said. “I’m really happy with how well we’ve responded.”