As a heavily visited public business destination, the City of Fishers wants to make its future City Hall building to be as welcoming as possible.
City officials also want it to be multifunctional and unique.
DELV Design co-founder Jeremy Welu and Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness spoke in detail about the project during an April 20 Twilight Town Hall Zoom event. Designs of the new building were unveiled during an April 18 Fishers City Council work session.
Fadness called the new building “a bit unconventional.”
“As many things are in Fishers,” he said. “We try to be innovative and took a different approach to truly be the people’s house and an opportunity for residents to engage in unique and different ways.”
The $22.8 million building will be built in the same location as the existing City Hall at 1 Municipal Dr. Fadness said because of a wealth of needed updates and repairs, including a sinking foundation, it made more sense to invest in a new building than fix the old one. The new City Hall will include a theater and art gallery, among other amenities. The city will use $6.3 million of its $6.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to help pay for the building.
Fadness said because of the city’s debt strategy, there will not be a tax increase to fund the new City Hall.
DELV Design and Meyer Najem were chosen to design and construct the facility after a months-long request for proposals process. Welu, a Fishers resident, said his goal is for the new building to be more welcoming to residents.
“The average city hall isn’t often interacted with by regular residents,” he said.
Welu said his design priorities were “to put people first.”
“Many times, you think of in most cities, the roads collide into a node in the middle,” he said. “A lot of times, it’s a monument, like Washington, D.C., for example. Fishers is different. At the heart of our city is activity, like the concert series and farmers market.”
Welu said a theater and arts center will make the building more attractive to residents.
“How do you create as much foot traffic and as much curiosity as you can to invite people in?” Welu said.
An open breezeway in the new building will separate the theater and the art gallery.
“The right side is the art center, and the left side is the theater,” Welu said.
Welu said an ellipses-style curve of the site would allow residents to engage with the building without having to enter it.
The Indianapolis Arts Center will partner with the City of Fishers to offer arts-related programming, such as pottery or painting classes.
Fadness said the building is the largest investment the city has ever made in arts programming.
“At the heart of it is a 250-seat courtyard theater,” said Welu, noting that a courtyard theater allows flexibility where seats can retract and open to a flat floor. “It can have City Hall meetings or theater or a local play. Our goal is to have an entrepreneurial city like Fishers to have the space react and provide a creative backdrop for lots of different kinds of presentations.”
The art center will have classrooms, galleries and other features. A rain garden will border the east side of the building.
Welu and Fadness expect groundbreaking to happen in October. The new City Hall will likely be complete in March 2024.
For more, visit fishers.in.us/artsmunicipalcomplex.
Using City Hall to the fullest extent
During construction of the new City Hall, Mayor Scott Fadness and city staff will work out of rented spaces or work from home.
Fadness said the current building will be used right up until the new City Hall opens.
The Fishers fire police departments will use the building for training exercises, such as active shooter drills or simulating a fire in a commercial building.
“You’ll see a use of this building all the way up to its last day,” Fadness said.