Town Hall Breaking Down Walls; Making More Room


More than 200 square feet of working space may sound like enough elbowroom for anyone.

But when you throw in office furniture, computers, filing cabinets, and everything else a town needs to run itself, what you've got is a Payson Town Hall so crowded that its 16 employees "are always tripping over each other," said Kelly Udall, Payson's administrative services director.

Hence the current remodeling project that mostly involves the area formerly occupied by the Payson Police Department -- which finished moving to its new building at the north end of the Town Hall campus May 12.

When the paint is dry and the drywall dust has settled, Udall said, the remaining town departments, which have been sharing 3,200 square feet, will spread out over a new total of 8,500 square feet.

Or a more comfortable 566 square feet per employee.

"Everyone was so cramped it was inefficient," Udall said. "It will be a good thing to see them in a building they're going to be able to utilize."

Although the amount approved by the town council for the remodeling project was $34,495, Udall said that budget will be exceeded because of change orders and a variety of unforeseen problems.

"We're going to try to squeeze everything in under $45,000," he said. "There are a number of areas that will need painting that we did not anticipate, and some of the electric work needs changing, too. Because the police department was a 24-hour operation, light switches were never installed in that section of the building.

"We've also added some cabinets to the clerk's reception area which wasn't in the original bid. It was things like that which upped the final cost."

The bid was awarded to local contracting company Vinrose Corp., which began the remodeling May 15. About 80 percent of the company's work, Udall said, will be painting and recarpeting.

The entire administrative services department and part of the clerk's department will be moving into the new office areas. Information systems will stay put, but will get an extra office. Several offices in the finance department will be enlarged.

A conference room will be established in the area where the police department's dispatchers formerly fielded calls, "so that the public, when they come in with questions, has a place where we can sit down and talk with them about whatever they have on their minds." Udall said. "This space will also double as the conference room for the town council whenever they go into executive session."

The councilmembers will have their own shared office, as well as one shared desk (but separate filing cabinets). And the mayor -- whose office is currently shared with the town manager -- will get his very own room.

"Now, when the public comes in to talk to (the councilmembers), they'll actually have some place to take them," Udall said.

The most difficult work will take place in the back of the building.

"For the councilmembers' office, we'll be taking two offices and knocking down a wall to make one large office," Udall said. "We're also taking out a hallway to add more efficient space to the finance department. And where we now have a break room and two offices, we'll make one large office and enlarge the break room."

At the moment, the project is about 20 percent completed, Udall said.

"We're shooting to be substantially done by the end of June, because that's when our fiscal year ends. But we will probably have to carry over a few dollars of the budget into July. I'm anticipating that we'll be done with everything within the month of July."

Once the remodeling is completed, Udall said, all of the town's departments and buildings will be good for another five to 10 years.

"The library will have its new building soon, and parks and rec is set with the building it moved into three years ago. Plus, our water department and community development (department) and building department are in good shape for at least five years in terms of facilities."

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