No jail this time around.
Plans for the new Armstrong city hall do not include an enclosure with bars, the remnants of which can be found in the basement of the current 105-year-old building on Bridge Street, former home to the Armstrong RCMP.
Ground on a new city hall was officially broken Thursday, Jan. 27, right across the street on city property that houses the Oddfellows Hall. An open house was also available to the public inside the Oddfellows Hall to view the new hall plans.
“There will be part of the old building going into the new city hall as we will salvage the old original vault door and move it to our new hall,” said current Mayor Chris Pieper, joined at the ceremony by a number of dignitaries, including former mayors Eric Hornby and Jerry Oglow, and Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo.
“But no, there will be no jail.”
The new building will be more than 6,500 square feet and will include a full basement area for additional expansion. Council chambers will include an increased area for public viewing and presentations.
The public area will allow for more than one person to be served, and employees will have efficient office space to work at.
There will be two conference rooms that will allow the planner and building inspector to meet in confidence, and the basement will also have an emergency operations centre designated when needed.
The new city hall will reflect on the theme of the city’s wood-first initiative that council has followed with the construction of the Nor-Val Sports Centre, swimming pool building, Memorial Park Gazebo and Spirit Square.
“The new building will reflect our city motto – ‘Pride – Spirit – Vision’ – as our city history takes another step forward,” said Pieper.
The new city hall is anticipated to open in late fall 2022.
The City of Armstrong was incorporated from the Municipality of Spallumcheen in 1913, so a municipal hall was needed. A 1916 referendum was held, and approved was the building of a brick structure to face Bridge Street at a cost of $3,075 ($675,000 in today’s dollars).
City hall opened on Jan. 8, 1917, right in the midst of the First World War.
Remodeling took place over the years, adding a larger police services area in the 1950s and more offices. The RCMP moved to its current location in 1976, and the Township of Spallumcheen, which also shared the facility, moved to its present location in 1984.
The new city hall site is the former site of the Agricultural Hall Fair Building, built in 1906, two former schools and the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, which is now located next door.
Pieper said the fate of the current building remains up in the air after the new city hall opens.