The Batavia City Council unanimously approved at its Sept. 6 meeting to rename the Batavia Municipal Government Center the Jeffery D. Schielke Government Center, according to a news release.
“During his 41-year-tenure, Mayor Schielke has served his beloved hometown with high honor and distinction, having provided leadership during a period of unprecedented growth and prosperity,” the Batavia City Council proclamation stated. “Mayor Schielke’s extensive experience and ongoing dedication, there is likely no other person who has spent more hours in service to the citizens of Batavia at our Government Center.”
Schielke was not notified of the proclamation ahead of time and was surprised by the announcement.
“Thank you for the honor,” Schielke said. “I’m very honored to be the mayor of this town.”
In congratulating Schielke, Alderman Alan Wolff praised him for his diplomacy and ability to facilitate dialogue among the council.
“The entire time I’ve been on council, you’ve been able to pull all 14 of us in a way forward that didn’t allow in-fighting. We could say what we wanted and know that we’d be heard,” Wolff said. “I really admire that.”
“You live Batavia. You are Batavia,” Wolff said.
When he first took office on May 4, 1981, Schielke was the youngest mayor in Batavia’s history at age 32. After winning his historic 11th term in 2021, Schielke became the second longest-serving mayor in Illinois and the 11th longest-serving mayor in the U.S.
According to the release, a lifelong resident of Batavia, Schielke is a 1967 graduate of Batavia High School, a member of one of the first graduating classes of Waubonsee College and an alumnus of Aurora University.
His service to the community includes being a Batavia auxiliary police officer, a paid on-call Batavia firefighter and a volunteer photographer for the Batavia Fire Department. He has been the president of the Batavia Historical Society, the Batavia Chamber of Commerce 2004 Citizen of the Year and former chair of the DuKane Council of Governments.
On a regional level, Schielke has served on the PACE Bus Board and as chairman of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Metropolitan Mayors’ Caucus.
The announcement coincides with the City Council’s approval of contracts for the government center remodeling project.
The renovation project includes remodeling the center portion of the building’s interior as well as several exterior improvements.
According to the release, the remodel will further modernize the 120-year-old building that saw its last update in the 1990s. Plans call for creating two separate and more functional and inviting lobbies with separate entrances – one for the Batavia Police Department and the other for City Hall, which will include the utility billing and community and economic development departments.
The building’s second floor will include more office space for the human resources and information systems departments. The Albright Community Theatre will continue to be located on the third floor, accessible for shows via an elevator in the City Hall lobby. A third-floor bathroom for theater patrons is planned.
The building’s exterior renovation plans call for new entrance doors and awnings more appropriate for the building’s architecture, as well as changes to the parking, landscaping and signage on the building’s west side.
Geneva-based Lane+Pepa Architects designed the remodel earlier this year. The city awarded the following contracts for the project: $2.3 million to Lite Construction of Montgomery for the construction, $259,000 to EHC Industries of Wauconda to remove asbestos and lead paint prior to the remodeling project and $162,000 to Trane U.S. to install a new HVAC building automation system.