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An update on the Great Falls Civic Center project

Great Falls Civic Center renovations underway (July 2021)
Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-27 10:16:02-05

The facade project at the Civic Center in downtown Great Falls is in its final stages, but has to wait a little bit for winter to pass.

The scaffolding outside the Civic Center is evidence of the ongoing project, which has been delayed for the winter because the city did not want to pay for extra material and will keep costs around the same as initially estimated.

Great Falls Director of Planning Craig Raymond says the project will cost around five and a half to $6 million and that delaying the project won't add appreciable value to the project cost.

Raymond says the project funding is mostly coming out of the downtown fifth District or tax increment financing. There have been unforeseen events along the way which presented challenges, but he says the city is handling the project well.

"I'm really pleased with how the project has been going overall. I mean, whenever you get into a renovation of a building, particularly an old building like this one that was completed in 1940, you're likely to run into things you didn't anticipate, and this project has been no exception."

Raymond says the project funding is mostly coming out of the downtown TIF District or tax increment financing. Some of the project will be funded by the annual facility budget as well.

"Once the exterior skin of the building started coming off, we started seeing some of the underlying substrate and some of the existing problems or issues that were there and we've had to make some adjustments along the way."

One of those adjustments is delaying the project, which sets the final finish back a few months. But Raymond says it's a worthy decision and won't have to pay for extra material such as tenting and propane.

"Given the transition of the different tasks and where we're at with the project, we felt it was probably better to stop for a period of time."

The delay has the project now being tentatively completed next August, and city officials are glad to see the project near its final stages.

"The project is a little behind schedule due to the winter weather, so they did decide to take a winter break because of the severity of the winter this year," city commissioner Eric Hinebauch said. "I know the HVAC and the boiler are two big-ticket items to take care of. I think there's going be a lot of good projects around the Civic Center coming up. We're looking forward to getting our facilities up to date."


Great Falls Civic Center renovation continues