August 19, 2022
Government | Kendall County Now


Furnishings for new Yorkville City Hall? Officials want to see renovation bid results first

Aldermen OK lockers, file storage; hold off on desks, chairs

YORKVILLE – When the new Yorkville City Hall on Prairie Pointe Drive opens a year from now, the question is just what it will look like inside.

Will the public be greeted by city employees working from matching desks, chairs and other fixtures with a consistent design?

Or will the city staff conduct business using a hodgepodge of new items mixed with old furniture dragged over from the soon-to-be-vacated building on Game Farm Road?

Right now the Yorkville City Council is playing it safe and remaining mindful of the cost.

Aldermen are delaying a decision on the furnishings until they have a construction price tag on the interior renovations and reconfiguration of the former office building, soon to become the center of city government and headquarters for the police department.

However, they moved forward on the purchase of major fixtures that the public will not see, including the police department’s lockers and secure evidence storage facilities, as well as cabinets for city hall files and documents, during their Nov. 23 meeting.

The council approved the expenditure of $304,000 with Bradford Systems of Elmhurst for the storage facilities.

Aldermen approved the purchase on the recommendation of City Administrator Bart Olson, who told the council that the price guarantee for the storage facilities is to expire on Dec. 6.

“Bradford has extended the pricing deadline several times to accommodate the changes staff has made,” Olson said. “This contract includes all the lockers, file and evidence storage needs for the building, except for a portion of the Community Development Department file storage.”

The development department is to cover a large portion of the three-story building’s second floor and will need to store a large volume of construction site plans, building blueprints and other documents.

“The city will either purchase regular shelving or high-density storage for this area at a later date,” Olson said.

Structural steel would need to be installed in the building to support the weight of the high-density cabinets, Olson said.

Meanwhile, aldermen decided to wait until after they get construction bids early next year on the renovation project, before committing to the furniture scheme.

Olson is recommending the city spend $426,000 with Groupe Lancasse of Chicago to furnish the entire building and to leave the existing city hall’s 20-year-old desks, chairs and cabinets behind.

“The mismatched nature, age and general condition of the existing furniture would not match the characteristics of the new building,” Olson said.

The price for the new furnishings includes freight, delivery and installation, Olson said, along with a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty.

However, aware that aldermen might balk at the cost, Olson is providing them with alternatives.

One option would be to substitute some pieces of furniture with stock items from internet retailers. While resulting in some mismatched furniture, the city could save $30,000, Olson said.

A more drastic alternative would be to eliminate more than a dozen staff desks and reuse existing desks, Olson said, while cutting back on furnishings in public areas of the building, for a savings of $110,000.

“These cuts would result in no coherent design style in the building,” Olson said.

Or, the council could scrap the new furniture proposal entirely and seek out a used furniture vendor, Olson said.

Finally, the city could move all of its existing furniture to the new building and fill in the gaps with the purchase of used furniture, Olson said.

Aldermen decided not to get too far ahead of themselves.

“Let’s get the bids for construction first,” Alderman Seaver Tarulis said.

The city has already spent $1.9 million to purchase the 41,000-square-foot building at 651 Prairie Pointe Dr., which sits on a four-acre site and is surrounded by roughly 200 parking spaces.

At the end of September, aldermen approved a $7.3 million cost estimate for renovations, plus architect’s fees and a $500,000 contingency, along with the floor plan for the building.

Staff and elected officials estimate that when complete, the city will have invested about $10 million in a project that would have cost twice as much had they instead constructed a new building.

The renovations are expected to get underway over the winter with completion in time for the city government and police to occupy their new quarters by the end of 2022.

The building was constructed in 2007 and was most recently used as a COVID-19 vaccination hub by the Kendall County Health Department.

The renovated facility will be designed to replace the hopelessly overcrowded city hall and police station at 800 Game Farm Road.

The police department will occupy most of the first floor and a large portion of the second, with most of the rest being used by the development department.

The third floor will be home to the city administration, with offices and the city council chambers.

Mark Foster

Mark Foster is a reporter for Kendall County Now, covering local government in Kendall County