CAROLYNN CLAREY | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
The Pullman City Hall offices moved to a new building Oct. 12 because of a lack of space in the former building.
The new city hall building is located in what used to be the former Encounter Ministries Church on SE Crestview Street, said Mike Urban, Pullman director of finance and administrative services. A senior center and recreational center moved into the second building of the former church.
The Whitman County District Court is the only office continuing its operations in the former building, said Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson. All the other offices will be moved to the new building.
The new building was chosen because it is more spacious than the previous city hall. The prior city hall building was unable to expand because of its brick foundation and land area, Johnson said.
There was also a demand from the community for extra recreational facilities and a new senior center, he said.
The city hall, senior center and recreational center are ready for use, Johnson said, but the senior center and city council chambers are unavailable for use because of the pandemic.
“We have a large kitchen where we can feed the seniors,” he said. “We can’t do that right now because most of the facilities that care for seniors or retirement homes are on lockdown.”
City council members have flexible office space in the new building, Urban said. They did not have an office in the previous building. A front desk has also been added to help visitors.
A $10.5 million bond to move city hall was first proposed in 2017. The bond failed originally because the percentage of voters did not meet the Washington voting rules to pass a bond. However, Pullman voters approved the bond in 2018, Urban said.
The city spent around $3 million to purchase the church buildings and the 6.5 acres they reside on, Johnson said. The remaining bond money was spent to renovate buildings.
The pandemic slowed down the remodeling and moving processes, Urban said. It took longer to have contractors and movers renovate and pack up the former building because of COVID-19 safety regulations.
The Pullman City Council has not decided what the city will use the previous city hall building for, Urban said.