Multi-million dollar repairs approved for Calgary’s historic City Hall

WATCH ABOVE: It’s one of the most historic buildings in the city, but Calgary’s old city hall needs some restorations. As Global’s Doug Vaessen reports, that is going to cost a pretty penny, and the final cost is still unknown.

CALGARY – A city committee voted unanimously to approve $34.1 million dollars Thursday to preserve Calgary’s historic City Hall.

Scaffolding was erected around the building’s exterior in September 2014, after potato-sized chunks of sandstone began breaking away of the north side of the facility and tumbling to the ground below.

Historic City Hall has housed the office of the mayor and council since it was inaugurated in 1911, and it is a provincial and national historic site.

On Thursday, the city’s Land and Asset Strategy Committee evaluated the findings of a report, which outlines a timeline for revamping the rundown building.

Members approved the funding to move ahead with the restoration project, which will require that employees move out for five years.

Work will begin in January 2016, with a completion date of June 2020.

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Staff are expecting to vacate the building by the start of next year’s Stampede.

The city says it will start by replacing the roof, which is not part of the historical designation. Roughly half of the exterior sandstone will also need to be replaced.

The city is looking at starting its own quarry to supply the stone for this project and others  in Calgary.

According to the report, Old City Hall was “built as a symbol of Calgary’s optimism and prosperity it has come to be associated with the history and resiliency of Calgary’s citizens.”

The report indicates the building was constructed with local Paskapoo sandstone when Calgary was known as “Sandstone City.”

The $34.1 million cost does not include modernizing the interior of the building, or the cost of improvements to the nearby Municipal Plaza, to stop it from draining ground water into the old building.