The sounds of drilling, hammering and sawing continued Wednesday in City Hall, as crews removed the dais from the Council Chambers — which contains pieces of Austin’s Treaty Oak — to make way for the city’s new government structure.
Workers are creating new offices and meeting spaces to accommodate the expanded 11-member City Council who will be elected this fall and take office in January. The current council is composed of the mayor and six council members who represent the whole city. Voters agreed in 2012 to change the setup to a citywide-elected mayor and 10 geographic district representatives, a system known as 10-1.
The dais where council members sit during meetings will be removed in pieces this month, said Courtney Black, a spokeswoman for the Public Works Department. The old dais, built by Buda Woodworks, contains pieces of the Treaty Oak, which according to legend stood witness to the treaty between the native people of the area and Stephen F. Austin.
Those wooden pieces will be incorporated into a new custom dais designed for the 11-member council by Nagelhout and Company, city officials said.
The Chambers will also get upgraded audio-visual, lighting, information technology and mechanical systems. The total project cost is $2.5 million.
Other parts of Austin’s 115,000-square-foot City Hall are under renovation as well. Modifications to the second floor will make room for additional conference rooms and four new offices for council members.
Black said the project should be complete by September.
City Council meetings will be moved to the Travis County Commissioners Court at 700 Lavaca St. during the renovations and are scheduled to resume in City Hall in October.