Council Chambers Renovation Project Advancing
Last year, the City Council identified the need to renovate the Chambers area at City Hall so it meets today’s standards for holding effective public meetings that allow the community to engage in local government. Visit owatonna.gov to read about the goals and scope of the project.
The project kicked off in March and, since then, the demolition phase was completed and a new annex was constructed. Crews are now focused on interior finishes. The project is expected to be completed in time for the November 7 meeting to be held in the new Charles S. Crandall Center Chambers.
Chambers naming to commemorate historic leader
Based on research provided by West Hills Commissioner Nancy Vaillancourt and State Public School Museum Director Anne Peterson, the instrumental work of Charles S. Crandall will be honored through the naming of the updated Council Chambers. Crandall was highly influential in getting Minnesota’s new State Public School located in Owatonna in 1885. For additional information about the historic City Hall building where the Chambers are located, visit orphanagemuseum.com.
Using the new space while respecting its past
An unexpected discovery was made during the interior demolition process as the stage formerly used in the school’s Amusement Hall was dismantled. City staff identified an opportunity to reuse the stage front in the final design of the remodeled Council Chambers space. This cost-saving measure provided a way to honor the room’s historical significance by preserving the stage front as a reminder of the rich history associated with the building. A historical display will showcase the State Public School’s history and the City’s commitment to preserving this historical site by purchasing the campus. The display will include a time capsule that was installed in 1887 when the building was constructed.
New space to serve as a community amenity
On September 5, the City Council approved a Facility Use Agreement with the Owatonna Independent School District #761 for its Board to utilize the new Chambers for its public meetings. Other community uses are expected to evolve over time.