City planning improvements to second floor of City Hall

The City of Rochelle is planning improvements to the second floor of City Hall, City Director of Community Engagement Jenny Thompson said Nov. 21.

‘We've got a lot of space to use and consolidation of staff is important’

ROCHELLE — The City of Rochelle is planning improvements to the second floor of City Hall, City Director of Community Engagement Jenny Thompson said Nov. 21. 

An area of the second floor will be built out into five offices. The city’s community development department recently moved from the Rochelle Municipal Utilities building at 333 Lincoln Highway to City Hall and more space is necessary.

"We are basically building out the second floor of city hall,” Thompson said. “The second level is divided in half. Half of it was built out years ago. The other half was never built out into offices and was just a big, wide-open area. There will be a total of five offices on our second floor that will be used for community development and human resources."

The city has budgeted $125,000 for the project and two contractors are currently working on estimates and Thompson said she hopes to get a third estimate. The project is slated to get started “as soon as possible” in 2023 and funds are budgeted for the project within that year.  Employees are currently working in temporary workspaces.

The last time City Hall was significantly renovated was in 1995, Thompson said. 

“We've done things over the years just to keep the building in great shape,” Thompson said. “We put a new roof on several years ago and replaced all the windows. We've made quite an investment in our mechanical system in the building. Now it's time to build out that space and really maximize it to fit as many of our staff in one building.”

Some city staff were recently relocated in an effort to build more efficiencies to better serve residents. The renovation work will make it easier for residents, contractors and developers to stop in and get building permits and work with the community development department, which includes the city building inspector. 

“Having everybody in the same building is giving us some opportunities to cross train staff in different areas, which is also a bonus,” Thompson said.

City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said the current open space on the second isn’t conducive to having a lot of staff in. 

“I think we're utilizing the space that's there to have greater efficiencies with our staffing,” Fiegenschuh said. “There was a time when a lot of the upstairs wasn't being used. We've got a lot of space to use and consolidation of staff is important to me. Getting everybody together so we can better serve our customers is the top priority. There's a lot of space up there to use, and now we're using it.”