City Hall doors to close July 18-19 for construction

ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo

To accommodate construction on its entrance, Fairfield City Hall will be closed Thursday and Friday of next week.
ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo To accommodate construction on its entrance, Fairfield City Hall will be closed Thursday and Friday of next week.

Fairfield City Hall will close its doors for two days next week, but its staff will still be available by phone.

In order to complete the renovation to its entrance, city hall must close its front door July 18-19. Since the construction is only affecting the entrance, staff will be able to work as normal. City hall can be reached at 472-6193. Residents can leave payments in the drop box as well.

City Engineer Melanie Carlson said a contractor will jackhammer the floor in the vestibule. She said the reason for removing the floor is to give it a gradual rise from the front door to the front office. Under its current configuration, the entryway floor has a flat spot by the exterior door, a ramp going up, and then another flat spot by the second door that leads into the front desk area. Carlson said the current ramp is too steep, so the city wants to fix that.

The contractor will pour new concrete at the end of next week, give it the weekend to cure, and by Monday, July 22, it will be ready for foot traffic.

Rest of construction

Carlson said construction on the rest of the building is on schedule and still expected to finish in late September. In addition to altering the ramp in the vestibule, the east exterior door will be moved 2 feet to the west, so it does not block the steps leading up to it. Carlson said it will be similar to downtown businesses that have a front door inset several feet from their front windows.

One major change is to the bathrooms, which have been closed to the public for the last month and will remain closed for a couple more months. The bathrooms, along with the rest of the renovations, are being remodeled to make them more handicap-accessible and in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act. That has meant knocking out bathroom walls to make the rooms larger so wheelchairs can turn more easily. The remodel will bring new bathroom fixtures, toilet partitions, and a new multi-level drinking fountain.

The council chambers are getting a makeover, too. Work has begun on the wheelchair ramp that will lead from the audience section of the council chambers to the raised area where the councilors sit. The “back door” of the council chambers was moved from the north wall to the west wall, so that it could be swung out in case of a fire, without blocking the path of people in the hallway. Since some of the carpet must be torn up for the ramp, the city has opted to replace all the carpet in the council chambers.

The United States Department of Agriculture is paying for the upgrades.

ADA compliance

When the city approved the project in February, Carlson noted that not every part of city hall was being brought up to ADA standards because that was too expensive. For instance, the ramp leading to the east entrance does not fully comply with the ADA, but since it was installed just seven years ago, she said it makes little sense to demolish it now when it is so young.

Likewise, the vestibule leading to the back door on the west side does not fully comply with ADA, either. However, fixing it would be expensive and unnecessary, Carlson said, because city hall is already wheelchair-accessible from the east side, which has push buttons so the doors to the vestibule open automatically.