Move to new Lenoir City Hall in limbo

Stephanie Myers-News Herald

While some Lenoir City government offices have moved to the new city hall in the SunTrust Bank building on Highway 321, other offices, including mayoral, city administration and codes enforcement, are stuck on Broadway Street.

Lenoir City Council appointed Dec. 9 an in-house, ad hoc committee to discuss renovating the remaining spaces in the new facility to meet the city's needs.

City Administrator Dale Hurst said a date has not been set for when remaining offices will relocate.

The building was purchased in the latter part of 2012. Lenoir City Police Department is located on the second floor and Lenoir City Parks and Recreation has staked claim in a portion of the third floor.

Hurst said offices for the mayor, city administrative positions will fill the remaining space on the third floor. A courtroom and the city's finance department should be on the building's first floor, which is currently occupied by the bank.

The committee, working with an architect, will discuss the feasibility of the first floor's layout, Hurst said.

Options include removing SunTrust operations from the first floor completely or giving them a portion of the floor.

"If SunTrust remained on the first floor we couldn't move," Hurst said, adding that there is little room left on the third floor - about enough space for two to four offices.

"Our needs are pretty big. We have to have a council/courtroom probably half as big as this or more, scanning the current city hall courtroom.

Hurst said it is too soon to put a price tag on renovation costs, but the committee will also discuss those expenses.

"I think the committee will basically be looking at cost. Renovation is expensive," Hurst said, adding that the building needs to be renovated to meet the city's needs. "Anytime you do renovation, I think it costs more to renovate than it does to actually to build."

The city purchased the SunTrust building for $720,000.

"We are looking architecturally how that will work and I think a committee could do a lot of work and a lot of examination and bring it back to city council for any improvements that they might need," Hurst said.

It's a pretty big project," he said.