The Palatine village council on Monday approved a series of changes to the planned $12.9 million village hall renovation, including the addition of an outdoor plaza and the elimination of a "penthouse" for maintenance staff.
The initial renovation plan called for the village hall, originally used as Palatine High School when built in 1952, to also include Palatine fire station 85. But the council decided in December to strip the fire station from the plan. That's given Wold Architects and Engineers, the Palatine-based firm that signed a $1.1 million contract last year to design the renovation, more room to work with.
"With fire not here, we wanted to make sure we made the best use out of this building," Village Manager Reid Ottesen said.
Matt Bickel, a partner at Wold, said one of the most significant changes to the plan is that they will no longer have to construct a "penthouse" on the roof for the maintenance department. Now maintenance will have a space on the upper level.
The space to the west of the building that was going to be paved and made into a driveway for fire engines can now be repurposed into an outdoor community space, Bickel said.
"We have the opportunity to create on the west side of the building a public plaza, if you will," he said.
In addition to the outdoor plaza, there is now room inside the building for more public meeting space than originally planned. Other changes include moving the village's emergency operations center to the main level of the building.
The renovations were approved last year and will be the biggest change to the 62-year old building since the village hall moved in during the 1970s.
Although parts of the building have been renovated since then, there are still many areas virtually unchanged since the building's days as a high school, including hallways lined with beige lockers.
Ottesen said the village plans to have the final, detailed blueprints ready for the council's approval by May. He said the renovations, which could take a "solid 12 months," will likely begin in the late summer.