WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A big move is in store for city workers in Memorial Auditorium, and major changes for how the public accesses services, with all details yet to be worked out. The temporary relocation of city hall employees to other downtown buildings for two years is to make way for a major renovation of the almost 100-year-old building.
Councilors voted on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, to allocate almost $30 million in federal COVID relief act funds to replace the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in the nearly one-hundred-year-old building, and for rent and improvements for the temporary offices. Assistant city manager Blake Jurecek said they are working to minimize the move’s effects on the public.
“The renovation process, the two years, I mean, we will do the best we can to minimize any effect on our citizens; we want to keep in mind that in the end, a lot of the renovations we are doing are for the public,” Jurecek said. “We are going to renovate the third floor, move the council chambers up there. We’re going to make it a lot more inviting for the public to come in for events at the performance hall and also for council and other things that come to the auditorium. We’re really excited about the access to the public after the renovation.”
The city signed two-year agreements with the Big Blue building at $17,500 a month and $18,585 a month in the Wichita Tower.
If the project is not finished in two years, extensions at two-month increments are in the contracts.
Chris Horgen with the city of Wichita Falls said the city offices will be vacated by the end of the year and that people will still be able to pay their utility bills, but the details on that have not been worked out. He said they will announce where you can pay your bills once a decision has been made.