An empty building in downtown Harrisonburg took a big step toward being occupied Tuesday night.
The Harrisonburg City Council voted on a bid to renovate One Court Square, so the city's school administrative offices can be moved in.
The winning bid was from Lantz Construction out of Broadway and the renovation will cost $2.08 million, which was a lot less than any previous bids.
There was some discussion about whether putting the school offices in what is primarily a commercial area is the best use of the space.
"After weighing all those factors, the council was comfortable with the notion that the issue of school board space has languished long enough and we really like the idea of moving forward with this now," says Harrisonburg Mayor Richard Baugh.
"This is a way to feature our communities values in terms of being centered around education and showcase our school board and our employees right on Court Square everyday," says councilman Kai Degner.
The Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority currently owns the space and will vote February 16 to accept the bid.
"Tonight, if you really want to get technical about it, it wasn't an acceptance of the bid. It was an endorsement of the bid for the housing and redevelopment authority, who presumably now will approve it," explains Baugh.
The school district will provide $1.4 million from its Capital Projects fund, about $250,000 will come from the Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and the city will fund the other $431,650.
"We'll pay with the intent however, to monitor other expenses with the existing hard budget line items from the city between now and the end of the year and hopefully make up the difference," says City Manager Kurt Hodgen.
The contracted completion date is November 15.
Recently there were others interested in the building, but the projects could not come together in sufficient time to give the city council time for consideration.
"We have already started the process with the schools and to go back on that would run a lot of risks. We have a bid in hand that we like, we would have probably lost that bid in the hunt for something that could have possibly worked out very well, but there was nothing definite in hand," says Baugh.
Hodgen says they will continue to work with people that were interested in the property to get them commercial space downtown.
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