Published Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011 | 2 a.m.
Updated Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011 | 11:56 a.m.
After 45 years, the old North Las Vegas City Hall has closed its doors and on Monday, city offices will reopen for business in a new, $127 million building.
Movers and the last city employees packed boxes Thursday afternoon to be transported down the street to 2250 N. Las Vegas Blvd.
By 2 p.m., most of the furniture, computers and documents had already been packed and loaded, leaving the mayor’s and city manager’s offices for last.
Newly appointed City Manager Tim Hacker said the new working environment will be a fresh start for the financially struggling city, which has taken some heat for spending on the new City Hall.
“A new facility is a morale booster,” Hacker said. “First and foremost, it’s about our ability to serve our customers. It’s going to be so dramatically improved in that new facility. Someone who comes with an issue or a problem will be able to take care of it in that site instead of sending them all over town.”
The old building at 2200 Civic Center Dr. will essentially be mothballed, but the city will continue to maintain the exterior. “There are no immediate plans for it,” said Hacker.
There had been some talks about the police department taking over the building, but that would have required sinking more money into it. “Right now, we don’t forecast the revenues to do that,” Hacker said.
The new building has council chambers that seat 318 people and 3,000 square-foot of space for retail shops. Outside, there is a civic plaza and splash pool for community events.
With city staffing at its lowest level in years, at least one floor of the nine-story building will be vacant, and there will be extra space on the other floors, too, officials said.
“Even though we’ve had to downsize and it’s going to look a little more vacant, it’s still built for the future,” Hacker said.
The new facility has drawn criticism from residents who believe the new building, along with a costly water reclamation plant, are expenses the city really doesn’t need.
Ralph Hofele, who pays a monthly commercial water bill, understands the city is in a tough place.
“It’s probably a bad time in the economy to be doing that but people get stuck (in the economy),” Hofele said. Once the fastest growing city in Clark County, North Las Vegas started off the fiscal year with a $33.3 million budget shortfall
At the start of construction, officials expected the building to serve its purpose until 2030, which is when they estimated that the population of North Las Vegas would reach 500,000.
The formal grand opening of the building will be at 4 p.m. Dec. 1 at the city’s 2011 Christmas tree-lighting event.
“I hope the community will really embrace it,” Hacker said. “The community of North Las Vegas very much deserves this facility.”