City Hall Opens to the Public After Two Years of Construction

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  After two years of construction, Des Moines' City Hall reopens its doors to the public Monday.

City Hall first opened to the public on January 1st, 1912. During the most recent renovation, more than a century after it first opened, workers were very careful not to damage or remove anything with historical significance.

“The project really was important to keep our historic building up to date, functional, safe and running smoothly,” Assistant City Manager Pam Cooksey said.

Cooksey said most of the work on City Hall was done behind the walls. The biggest project was the boiler and the heating and cooling system.

“Our boiler could have given out at some point, we could have had some sort of temporary heat system, that was probably our biggest danger and part of the impetus of this project really was heating and cooling."

To stay true with City Hall’s original theme of open and honest government, they remodeled the first floor to create a wider space and added a bigger counter space, so the public can easily find and access to the department they need.

“Most of the public either comes to a council meeting or they go downstairs and pay for their dog license or something like that so where the public spaces are we kept everything open and available and accessible to everybody,” Cooksey said.

Here is a list of what was renovated to City Hall:

Window & exterior door replacement - 2010

Building exterior cleaned by Karcher Cultural Sponsorship Program at no cost to the City - 2017

  • HVAC with building automation upgrades
  • LED lighting for 90% of interior & exterior lighting
  • Lighting controls including dimming & daylight harvesting
  • Fire Sprinkler system
  • Fire alarm system
  • Data infrastructure and cabling
  • Audio Visual and broadcasting equipment updates in Council Chamber
  • Refreshed finishes in Council Chamber
  • Restored historic lighting
  • Interior remodeling on first floor to restore historic wall layout
  • Updated finishes and made several restrooms ADA compliant
  • Updated finishes in several departments
  • Created two larger conference room spaces
  • Added small elevator to Legal department
  • Replaced roller shades in Great Hall
  • Reroofing
  • Replacing landscaping around facility

There is an official ribbon cutting ceremony for City Hall Monday from 2 P.M. to 4 P.M.