Renovations to Council Chambers inside the City of Powell Municipal Building at 47 Hall St. are likely coming soon after council members listened to a presentation detailing the proposed improvements during Tuesday’s meeting.
Finance Director Rosa Ocheltree led the presentation, which included renderings of the upgrades and a breakdown of what the city aims to accomplish with them.
“As part of the 2023 budget, council appropriated funds to renovate the council chambers and also the lobby,” Ocheltree said during the presentation. “We consulted with various designers to select and design a space that we felt is fit for council and the vision of Powell 2.0.”
Ocheltree said the goal of the renovation is to create a space that “promotes and fosters collaboration” while enhancing the experience for council, city staff and residents. She noted the project is a “refresh” rather than a construction project.
Included in the refresh is the updating of all the audio and visual equipment, as well as repainting the rooms, installing new carpet, adding new furniture, and adding additional branding. Phase two of the project will include the added branding to the building, and Ocheltree said the aim is to capture the vision of Powell 2.0 while also paying homage to Powell’s history.
If the budget for the project allows it, a third phase of the project would involve the renovation of the building’s bathrooms.
City Manager Andrew White followed the presentation by saying one of the biggest efforts of the renovations is to improve the audio and visual experiences both inside the chambers and for those watching meetings virtually.
“We also received project quotes for an upgrade to the audio and communications (equipment),” White said. “The microphones we have, if we went forward with this plan, would go away and they would be replaced with ceiling tiles that serve as both amplification and recording devices. So we can hopefully pursue greater attainment at the meeting itself and also promote better access to the online community. I know that is something we’ve heard about from people in the past, that it’s difficult to hear depending on what type of volume we have.”
Ocheltree added that an additional television would be placed in the back of the chamber room for attendees of meetings to be able to see presentations being made.
Vice Mayor Tom Counts said of the proposal, “I’d just remind everybody that this room probably was last decorated and furnished almost 25 years ago, and as we all know, much of the furnishings are being used beyond their useful life. In fact, we have experienced that they have died while we’ve been sitting here. That’s the first thing I want our residents to know if they question why we are doing this. It is definitely time.”
Counts went on to note that everything involved with the renovations includes the flexibility to be moved down the line if, perhaps, the council chambers are moved.
A total of $200,000 was allocated to the project as part of the 2023 budget. Ocheltree said the renovations currently total approximately $150,000 without the potential bathroom renovations included. A resolution for the project is expected to be presented to council at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, April 4. Ocheltree said the renovations, if approved, should be finished by late July or early August.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.