STERLING – The Sterling Coliseum has been undergoing a face-lift for more than a year, and the end result is a more efficient and compliant building, the city manager said.
The project, which City Manager Scott Shumard said will cost about $5 million, has completely renovated the building at 212 Third St. that houses the city's administrative offices and police department.
The City Council has moved its meetings back into the Coliseum, and the renovations are expected to be finalized by Oct. 31.
Gone is the auditorium, where there were only three performances a year, Shumard said.
Now, that space has a centralized reception desk for the city's administrative functions – about 14 cubicles and a copier-and-supplies area that serves the administrative, finance and code enforcement departments, instead of each having its own on a separate floor.
"The thing that's best for the citizens is to have that one desk where all your questions are going to get answered," Shumard said. "Instead of running people to different floors, because people would end up in the clerk's office and then need something from finance, and they [were] two floors apart. ... Now, everything is on one floor."
The renovations were handled by architects at the Leo A. Daly architecture firm.
The original basketball floor was refurbished and exposed throughout much of the building, including the main level's office area, which has an open feel and a decorative, dark wood ceiling structure that hangs from the building's actual ceiling.
During construction, crews found a program from a 1950s highs school basketball game between Newman Central Catholic and Rock Falls, and several old beer cans in the backstage area, Shumard said.
The renovated Coliseum also will have several conference rooms; the old building had none. The only space with a conference table was the hallway to a back office, Shumard said.
Some of those conference rooms are being used by city or police staff, as their offices or areas of the building are being completed.
In December 2010, the Sterling City Council voted to issue up to $4.5 million in taxable general obligation bonds to repair and rebuild the 80-year-old Coliseum. In May 2012, the city awarded a $4.6 million contract to Sjostrom and Sons Construction of Rockford.
After more asbestos than expected was found, a surveillance system, an expanded police dispatch room and renovations specifically to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the cost is now estimated around $5 million, Shumard said.
The expanded police dispatch area wasn't in the original plans, but could serve as the location of a consolidated dispatch office in the future, Shumard said.
The renovated building also has geothermal heating and cooling, additional space for police department records, and an expanded server room for the building's technology.