ST. GEORGE — After years of planning and months of designing, shovels dug into the ground Friday morning, officially marking the start of construction on Ivins City’s new City Hall.
It was a moment that Ivins Mayor Chris Hart said was long-awaited.
“I’ve had my personal vision of it for years now,” Hart said of the building that is being built adjacent to the current City Hall.
Chief among Hart’s vision for the new building was that it should be built with energy efficiency in mind.
Hart, who is a builder by trade, said he wanted the building to be efficient in myriad ways including how the structure is built and the materials used, the heating and cooling equipment implemented and, he said, he wanted to incorporate solar power.
Ivins has already installed solar to operate many of the city’s facilities, Hart said, adding that approximately 40% of the city’s facility electrical requirements are already generated through solar power.
The new building will have a large solar array installed on the parking shade structure which, Hart said, should pay for itself in 15 years or less and will make the new building a net-zero building for power, meaning that the building, using solar, would generate sufficient electricity to power it entirely over the course of the year.
Ivins City Council member Sue Gordhammer said that she is excited about all the energy-efficient thought that has been put into the building and believes it will act as a standard-bearer in the community for that type of construction.
“I think it’s important that we be forward-looking,” Gordhammer said.
Other energy-efficient elements include the use of a variable refrigerant flow system that draws water from an underground aquifer on a loop, which will be used to cool the building rather than using outside air, Hart said.
“It’s just incredibly efficient,” he said, adding that he believes this to be responsible in every way.
Located at 55 Main St., the current City Hall was built 25 years ago. The approximately 6,000-square-foot building is not adequate anymore to meet the needs of city staff, City Council members and space needed to house the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department which Ivins manages, Hart said.
Ivins and Santa Clara have an inter-local law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services agreement. Santa Clara manages the fire and emergency medical services while Ivins manages law enforcement, but because of a lack of space, the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety Department is currently housed in a small portion of Santa Clara’s City Hall, Hart said.
As part of the nearly $5 million project, the current City Hall will be renovated to house the public safety department which will give them adequate space for their needs.
“I’m really excited about the building and the fact that the police are going to have the opportunity to take over our old facility,” Gordhammer said.
Perhaps the most exciting feature that has been in the works since the beginning of the year is what is called a rammed earth wall.
The wall, created from layers of dirt, water and compression, will stretch from the outside of the building all the way inside and mirror the colors of the surrounding earth as well as the city’s unique pioneer history.
It reflects what both Hart and Gordhammer called the three-prong theme of the building, which is earth, water and hardwork. Those three things represent how Ivins was built from its early history to what it is today, Hart said.
Gene Madsen, vice president of Hughes General Contractors, the contractors chosen for the building, said that the rammed earth wall, along with other elements, will make it a building like no other in the valley.
“This is going to be a very unique building,” Madsen said.
With shovels in the dirt, construction is expected to be completed in fall of 2021.
“It’s an exciting time for the city,” Gordhammer said.
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