Simms Municipal Building opens for city use

Published: Jan. 22, 2016 at 6:40 PM CST|Updated: Jul. 18, 2016 at 9:23 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The old Atmos Energy building will now house several Amarillo city departments.

The new municipal building, named for former city council member Jim Simms, is ready for the city to start moving in following a more than four million dollar renovation.

"For the last couple of years we've been trying to take care of that kind of running from office to office with paperwork," said Bob Cowell, Deputy City Manager. "We've tried to take care of that on the process side. This now gives us a facility that accommodates that, so that hopefully someone coming in to do business with us can go to one spot and not have to go from floor to floor or in some cases from building to building."

Modern architecture and an open floor plan will help collaboration between city departments, according to Jerry Danforth, Director of Facilities and Capital Improvement.

"What we went for was a contemporary design that still showed off both a commercial and an industrial look," said Danforth. "So you have a lot of exposed, high ceilings. It gives you an open space, it gives you an open feel so that when the customer comes in for us to deal with they feel a lot more comfortable; they don't feel closed in."

Another goal in designing this building was energy efficiency.

"It's critical to us, and we wanna be one of the leaders in that as far as being an example in the market," said Danforth. "If we're the city and we're regulating it, we need to do a good job of it."

The building uses a motion activated lighting system, smaller air conditioning units, and a lot of windows for natural light.

"We're very proud of what we've accomplished here," said Danforth. "I think it's going to be a unique facility to the City of Amarillo. and I think it's something that the city can be very proud of."

Almost a dozen departments will be relocating. The Simms Municipal Building is already home to the City Care Clinic, Amarillo Emergency Communications Center and the Office of Emergency Management. The departments of Community Development and Environmental Health will be the first to open in the new location on Monday, Jan. 25. Building Safety, Public Works, Engineering, Traffic, Planning and Utilities Engineering departments will relocate beginning the first few weeks of February.

The goal is to have all departments moved in and ready for business by Monday, Feb. 8.

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