Penzel/TreanorHL to Design/Build the New/Old City Hall
Posted on 11/04/2019
Following research, proposals and interviews, City staff has decided to recommend the team of Penzel Construction Company, Inc. and architecture firm, TreanorHL, for the $12 million project to renovate the historic Common Pleas Courthouse and move City Hall back to its former home.

A year ago, the City was looking at a $20 million price tag to tear down and rebuild City Hall while the historic Common Pleas Courthouse at Ivers Square would lay empty with repair needs unfunded and unmet. In August 2019, voters approved the Capital Improvement Sales Tax and thus, the plan to improve the water system, airport, streets and this City Hall / Common Pleas project. The project will save the landmark building by moving City Hall into an expanded facility for closer to $12 million (includes $6 million matching casino funding).

Common Pleas has been at the center of Cape Girardeau civic life for 165 years. Shortly after the construction of the courthouse, the Civil War erupted and the building served as a military headquarters, a prison for Confederate soldiers and Southern sympathizers, and a hospital. Over the years, the building was used for numerous political, social and religious functions.

“The Common Pleas Courthouse is the cornerstone of downtown Cape Girardeau and its past is vital to the history and heritage of the community. It is imperative we preserve and honor that history while also looking forward to the City’s future,” said Mayor Bob Fox.

Today’s City Hall is the hub of city services and public policymaking. Customers currently come to City Hall to setup or pay for water/sewer/trash service, and get various business and contractor licenses. The top floor is home to the Development Services Department. The other two floors of the building house administrative services that support Public Works, Parks & Recreation, Fire & Rescue, the Regional Airport and the Police Department. Those services include: Information Technology, Human Resources, the City Attorney, Public Information, Finance Division, City Management and the City Clerk’s and Customer Service offices. Council convenes for public meetings at City Hall, but they are not employees with offices.

The future City Hall will be a renovated, ADA accessible and secure facility. Customer service agents will be relocated to other public offices across the City – a move that frees up space at Common Pleas, and gives customers more options city-wide.

“Our goal is to provide ‘Wow’ customer service and in order to do so, we must be responsive to changing expectations and to future generations. That means reinventing how services are delivered to our customers and harnessing opportunities and technology to improve our service levels,” said City Manager Scott Meyer.

The City received three proposals from FGMArchitects/River City Construction, Kiefner Bros. Inc/Chiodini Architects and Penzel/TREANORHL. The City Council is anticipated to approve an agreement with Penzel/TreanorHL at a future public meeting. The County/Court is expected vacate Common Pleas by May 2020. Construction at Common Pleas could begin as early as Summer 2020 with completion expected by September 2021. The public will be kept up-to-date throughout the project via news and social media, and public events. The City also intends to find a new owner and suitable alternative use for the current City Hall, Old Lorimier School, which preserves the existing structure.