New Sullivan’s Island Town Hall construction gets underway

Sullivan’s Island will have a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for its new Town Hall.

Two double-wide trailers have been home to Sullivan’s Island Town Hall and the Police Department since 2010.

But things will be much different this time next year.

On Tuesday, the island turns its first shovel of dirt for the construction of a $3.9 million municipal center.

The new two-story town headquarters on Middle Street will be next to the Fire Department.

“Safety and emergency readiness will be increased with this new building,” the town said.

The replacement Town Hall was designed with the residential character of the island in mind, said architect David Creech.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

Creech and Associates held public meetings to gather input from residents on how the Town Hall should look. The selected design drew on elements of the old Coast Guard Lifesaving Station, he said.

“It’s got a relaxed feel to it and doesn’t scream any sense of formality,” Creech said.

The first floor will include council chambers and administrative offices. The Police Department will be on the second floor. The 12,000-square-foot building will be elevated 11 feet and the space beneath will have public restrooms.

The old 1,500-square-foot Town Hall a few blocks away on Middle Street was in a historic structure with a mold and rat problem. Employees complained of feeling sick while working in the building. There are no immediate plans for the location. The town is working to digitize the paper records still stored there and stabilize the mold problem.

Town Council in January approved a $4.1 million general-obligation bond and sold some land to finance the new town headquarters and improvements to Stith Park.

The bond required a property tax rate hike that added $200 to the tax bill for a home valued at $1 million, said Town Administrator Andy Benke.

Hill Construction is the general contractor for the new Town Hall.

“It will be a nice structure that will give a good sense of civic pride,” Creech said.

Reach Prentiss Findlay at 937-5711.