The grand opening of the newly renovated Morgan Hill City Council chambers was greeted with fanfare and celebration Wednesday, June 4.
More than 150 people attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting at the facility at 17575 Peak Ave., enjoying cake and strawberries. Mayor Steve Tate and City Manager Steve Rymer addressed the crowd, heralding the opening of the chambers they said will provide improved access to the public, and give the elected officials a better chance to interact with citizens.
The chambers are located inside the building which dates back to the 1970s and has housed a much smaller meeting room for the council until this week. Contractors, led by design team Weston Miles Architects, tore out interior walls that used to separate city staff offices to create an expansive, modern looking meeting room equipped with three large projection screens above the dais and an upgraded audiovisual system.
The chambers can seat up to 280 people, and Tate noted the facility will be available on weekends to rent to groups or organizations.
Adorning the rear wall of the meeting room is the Leadership Morgan Hill Class of 2013 project, a collage more than 30 feet long depicting photographs that illustrate Morgan Hill life, culture and history.
Architect Leslie Miles told Wednesday’s crowd that her firm’s goal was to “create a space that feels like Morgan Hill, both inside and out.”
Local resident Joseph Carrillo, speaking to the council during public comments following the grand opening, noted the curved ceiling panels above the audience appear to depict the shape of El Toro Mountain which overlooks Morgan Hill just to the west of the council chambers.
“Phase two” of the project will be to renovate the former meeting space, which occupies the northern portion of the building. That phase will consist of creating a lobby and greeting area for the upgraded new meeting room, Rymer said.
The city budgeted about $1.5 million for the chambers renovation project, according to city staff. Funding is from a variety of City funds, including the building replacement fund, the municipal infrastructure fund and the public facilities fund financed by impact fees, according to City staff.