$38 Million In Renovations Planned For San Antonio's Historic City Hall

Oct 12, 2017

San Antonio’s historic City Hall could get a massive multi-million dollar renovation.  City officials say the almost 130-year-old building is in need of immense repairs.  The proposal includes new ramps for disabled access at the front of city hall. 

San Antonio’s City Hall holds the offices of the mayor, city council, the city manager and a few other essential portions of city government. Since it was built in 1889, the city has spent six million dollars in the original construction and all renovations so far. 

Mike Frisbee is the director of the city’s Capital Improvement’s department and says a full overhaul of restoring aging parts of the building is estimated to cost just over $38 million

“All the utilities, the plumbing, the electrical, the heating/air conditional systems, the interior walls, the conditions the exterior walls,” Frisbee says.

For instance, fuse boxes date back to the 1960s and many pipes are corroded. During a council work session, Councilman Clayton Perry asked why this project wasn’t in the 2017 bond. Frisbee says this project wasn’t ready to be included. “We did the facility assessments last year to really identify what are all the problems,” he says.

The city would use a debt service plan through certificates of obligation to pay for the renovations.

The plan includes ramps for disabled access in the front of city hall. Right now, accessibility ramps are in the back and lead into the basement. Councilman Roberto Trevino says no one should have to use a back door.

“When somebody says we’re technically complaint with [the American’s with Disabilities with Act,] I think that’s – in my opinion – that’s technically wrong.”

If the plans are approved next spring, renovating city hall could begin next September.