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June 2012
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Paducah City Hall could be renovated or replaced

BY CARRIE DILLARDcdillard@paducahsun.com

To renovate or not to renovate? That is the question.

The Paducah City Hall is aging. Many of its structural, architectural, mechanical and electrical systems have outlived their expected lifespans or are inefficient by today's standards. According to City Manager Jeff Pederson, the building, which opened for business 50 years ago, has had no major renovations.

The Paducah City Commission now has to decide whether it is better to renovate or to look into constructing a new building.  

"This building has been well used and well maintained, but it's certainly showing the effects of 50 years of use," Pederson said.

An assessment report by two engineering firms - Bacon, Farmer and Workman, and Marcum - was presented to the commission Tuesday. It estimated the cost for renovations could reach $13 million, not including permits, a contingency fund or the expense of temporary offices during construction.

Engineers were asked to study renovation only, and did not have a detailed cost estimate for a new building. However, based on one of their recent projects in Paducah - the 43,000-square-foot Murray State University regional campus - Baccus Oliver, an engineer with the Marcum firm, offered a rough estimate of at least $10 million.

Construction costs for the MSU building reached $8.6 million. The Paducah City Hall would need to be larger - at least 50,000 square feet to adequately house all the departments currently located in the building on South Fifth Street.

If the commission chooses to renovate, the total project from start to finish - from design to construction to completion - would take approximately two years.

The commission took no action Tuesday.

"The clock is ticking," said Commissioner Richard Abraham. "We shouldn't wait too long. It's almost midnight."

Further cost comparison studies are expected.

Contact Carrie Dillard, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.

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