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City of College Station project to include visitor center, tourism HQ

City of College Station project to include visitor center, tourism HQ

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College Station officials are in the early stages of renovating a building to house a visitor center and the city’s Economic Development Department, which includes its tourism division. 

Last week, city council members unanimously approved a $149,000 contract with Kirksey Architects for designing renovations to the city-owned building at 1207 Texas Ave. The 16,000-square-foot building — which is next to the new city hall currently under construction — is home to the city’s Human Resources Department and Facilities Maintenance Division and was formerly a fire station.

Emily Fisher, assistant director of capital projects, said that once the city hall is complete in spring 2022, human resources will move there. Facilities maintenance will move into a new shop around the same time at the public works operations center, according to the city blog. 

The renovated former fire station will likely include a space for events, a large lobby area, a conference room, restrooms and offices, Fisher told the council Thursday. She said everything will be brought up to accessibility standards, and mechanical and electrical systems will be examined to see if improvements are needed.

“We are proposing that this renovation of an existing building be designed to compliment the new city hall and create a campus-like feel to the block,” Fisher said of the former fire station. “We plan to incorporate similar architectural features as the new city hall so the two structures kind of balance each other out.”

Kirksey Architects is the architect for the new city hall project. Design on the building at 1207 Texas Ave. will begin immediately. Construction will begin in spring 2022 when facilities maintenance moves out, but Fisher said some additional work might begin sooner than that. The total renovation project budget is currently $1 million, which Fisher said will be taken from the hotel occupancy tax fund. 

Some council members praised the plans for the renovated building on Thursday, remarking on how much they like the location for a visitor center.

Council members Dennis Maloney and John Crompton said they would like the history of the city to somehow be incorporated into the renovated building, brainstorming ideas such as the potential creation of a documentary or a partnership with A&M to ensure the history is outlined accurately.

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