Georgia City Hall Project Readies for Groundbreaking

By CN Staff

AUBURN, Ga.—The approval of $12.5 million for the redevelopment of the new City Hall and surrounding area in Auburn, Ga., was recently approved by the Auburn Urban Redevelopment Agency (URA).

These funds will be used to acquire, construct, and install the new City Hall complex. Funds may also be used for roads, paving, parking, landscaping, and stormwater-related facilities.

A groundbreaking for this project is slated for October 14. The new City Hall will be a 33,000-square-foot replica of the Perry-Rainey Institute—a building that housed students from 1902 through the 1940s—that fell into disrepair and was demolished.

The land was deeded to the school system to be used for education. Auburn Elementary now sits on the former Perry Rainey Institute site. Auburn recently renovated the building adjacent to the college, which was built in 1902. This building is now the Perry-Rainey Center, and will have a view of the new City Hall.

Engineering, architectural, environmental, and legal work has progressed. Redevelopment of the new City Hall and surrounding area has resulted in a partnership with nationally known architect Lew Oliver of Lew Oliver Inc.; master developer, Dave Schmit of Schmit+Associates; and P. Allen Smith, a well-known horticulture expert, Georgia PBS television host, garden designer, conservationist, and lifestyle expert, and others.

Discussions about this project have centered around the need for access to public parking on one side, secure parking for police entrance, and providing for a fall zone for the cell tower with some green space. Planners have also suggested ensuring City Hall is placed where there is expansion room should it be needed in the future. A new main road could run in front of City Hall, then line up with Woodlawn. That portion could be closed as needed for events or other special occasions.

The term of the loan is 30 years, at an interest rate of 2.7%. Repayment will come from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) proceeds dedicated to this project as they come in over time. SPLOST funding was also used to purchase the property for this project in 2010.