The City of Fishers is looking at the feasibility of constructing a new City Hall building as the existing one continues to sink in poor soil.
The building, constructed in 1991, almost immediately had foundation problems, primarily on its west side. The city unsuccessfully attempted to remedy the situation as early as 1994.
In 2012 and 2013, the city authorized Cardno ATC to conduct soil borings, which found that the soil underneath the building was “unsuitable for supporting the building,” according to documents provided to the city council. The city attempted underpinning the building again in 2013, which, like the attempt 19 years earlier, did not work.
“(Structural problems) began happening as far back as the 1990s, where we’ve had to mitigate those measures, try multiple times to stabilize the building,” Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said. “It was incumbent upon me to have a conversation with council about whether or not it makes sense to put significant dollars into a building that may not provide a solid return on investment.”
During the past five years, the city has spent $1.7 million on maintenance and upgrades to the building. The figure includes addressing cracks and damage caused by the foundation as well as improvements to lighting and furniture, among other features. This year, $240,000 will be spent on window and door replacements. Repair and maintenance costs are estimated at $2.3 million in the next three years, which would not address the soil issues. The $2.3 million would include top priority items such as repairing fascia boards, brick mortar and sealant joints and replacing various fixtures.
Fadness said he’s not sure it’s worth the cost of spending additional money to repair the building when it doesn’t solve the foundation problem.
The cost of a new, three-story, steel-frame building is estimated between $18.3 million and $20.8 million. Fadness said this summer the city council will review the feasibility of building a new City Hall.
“We are taking the next steps to refine the financial information, design and concept,” Fadness said.