Freshman Mundelein Trustee Holly Kim hadn't yet joined the board when construction work began on the new village hall about 13 months ago, but that hasn't stopped her from being impressed with the nearly completed project.
"It is pretty exciting," Kim told the Daily Herald on Thursday. "It's concrete. It is there."
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The 32,000-square-foot, two-story building is on the 200 block of East Hawley Street. It's a stone's throw from the Hawley Commons shopping center and the village's Metra station.
With an estimated $10 million price tag, construction is set to wrap up by May 1. Staff could move in early the following month.
Mayor Steve Lentz said he likes to imagine how his office will look in a few months.
"I do think about that whenever I look at the building," said Lentz, who supported the project as a trustee before he became mayor in May 2013.
But Lentz is more concerned about what the building will mean to the town than which way his desk will face.
He and other officials hope the building is a catalyst for future development and public activity in the area, which is near the heart of the village's downtown business district.
Shops, condominium and apartment buildings and green space have been proposed for the land around the building. Lentz envisions a plaza that will attract residents and businesses.
"One day, that whole region will be transformed," he said. "It'll be a true destination point to live and work."
A Vernon Hills firm called Weston Solutions has overseen the project. As part of the town's deal with Weston, the company will move into offices on the second floor of the building when the structure is complete.
Rent payments from Weston will help pay for construction, officials have said.
Kim likes that public-private partnership.
"It's kind of like a two-flat and the tenant is paying the rent," she said.
She's also pleased with the facility's floor plan, particularly how available space will be utilized.
"Everything is really nice and modern," Kim said. "It'll definitely inspire people to realize that Mundelein really is moving forward."
Outside, the building's brickwork resembles the facades of Mundelein's police and fire stations and other buildings in town.
"We're trying to have a little bit of continuity," Trustee Ray Semple said.
Because of the ground slope, the building's elevation appears different depending on where you're standing.
It's a two-story structure if viewed from the front and a new road called Plaza Circle. But if you're standing in back of the hall on Archer Avenue, it seems to be a one-story edifice.
Architects pulled a similar trick when designing the nearby police station.
A public open house is tentatively planned for August, officials said.
The current village hall at 440 E. Hawley St. is a converted fire station that dates back to the 1920s. The fate of the Alpine-style building hasn't been determined.
"That's going to be one of the next big decision that we have to make," Semple said.