The Palatine village council has approved the design for a $12.7 million renovation of the 62-year-old village hall, a project officials say could break ground before the end of the year.
The plan would modernize the exterior of building, which houses village offices and the Palatine Park District, and reorganize its interior.
"We are transforming this building to create a recognizable icon for the village and a proper statement for village government for the residents of Palatine," Matt Bickel, a partner at Wold Architects and Engineers, said at last week's village council meeting.
Bickel said the renovations will make the building better suited for village government, while improving its image and energy efficiency.
The building originally served as Palatine High School when built in 1952. This means the administration of the village of nearly 70,000 residents is run out a building that still contains oddities like hallways lined with beige lockers.
Among the more striking planned changes are roof improvements that will let more light into the building. What's more, the section of the second floor above the lobby will be opened up to allow the new natural light to travel all the way down to the main floor.
Bickel said those changes will allow the building to feel much more open for visitors.
Other improvements made with visitors in mind include work to Wood Street, which will be widened and enhanced to make the area safer for pedestrians crossing the street to get to village or park district offices. Bickel said the plan also includes a drop-off lane for cars and buses.
The work to the roof and the street were not part of the original project, and are estimated to add $97,000 and $105,000, respectively, to the cost. Village Manager Reid Ottesen said adding them will make for a more complete project.
The drab concrete that currently tops the building will be covered by aluminum panels. The building's bricks also will receive a facelift, including the exterior of the adjacent park district. The park district will reimburse the village for their portion of the construction cost.
Ottesen said portions of the exterior will be replaced brick by brick, while others will be covered with thin bricks that match the new masonry. He said those kind of details will be finalized in the next planning phase, which he said might be presented to the board in September at the latest. He said construction would begin soon after.