Killeen council chambers

A rendering of a Killeen City Council Chambers redesign is seen. The new chambers would include an overhauled dais, seating area and video technology room, and would include space for workshops and meetings.

The Killeen City Council’s aging chambers will see a major face lift after the council voted to approve the $277,407 renovation at its meeting Tuesday.

The council voted 5-1 to approve the makeover project, including plans to use the current space in the first floor at City Hall for both meetings and workshops. Councilman Gregory Johnson voted against the resolution.

The council currently conducts its nonvoting workshops in the Utilities Collection Building across the street from City Hall.

On April 26, the city posted bid applications online for the project, which the council budgeted a total of $496,028 in the fiscal year 2018 budget. Of that total, $300,000 was budgeted to come from Public, Educational or Governmental funds, which are paid by cable providers as a requirement for their state franchise.

The city’s original plans for the chambers included accommodations for meetings, workshops and executive sessions at the current facility at City Hall. The redesign would also include new electrical wiring, HVAC, sound, lighting, and cosmetic improvements to include carpet, upholstery, paint and window shades.

However, the city took the audio/visual component out of its bidding, favoring re-posting that portion at a later date as a Request for Proposals. The city said the request is currently under development.

The cable franchise fees the council budgeted to use for the renovation are use-restricted to projects improving governmental access channels.

Johnson voted against the measure after voicing concerns about the stability of City Hall, a former elementary school that was constructed in 1923.

The current council chambers were constructed in 1995, according to the city, and have had no significant improvements since construction.

In September 2016, the city commissioned an engineering study that found the City Hall building needed $1.87 million in repairs to be completely usable.

“I feel like when we get into those walls, it could open up a can of worms,” Johnson said.

Following the report, the city floated a number of possibilities for the building, including moving City Hall functions wholesale to the Killeen Arts and Activities Center at 801 N. Fourth St.

In the meantime, the city moved personnel and records from the third floor of City Hall, which is directly above the council chambers. | 254-501-7567

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