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Burnet breaks ground on City Hall

(From left) Burnet City Manager David Vaughn, former Councilor Mary Jane Shanes, Mayor Pro-tem Philip Thurman, Councilor Joyce Laudenschlager, former Councilor Dennis Langley, and Councilor Ricky Langley broke ground on a new City Hall at 301 E. Jackson St. on May 20, 2024. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

Burnet held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new City Hall on Monday, May 20. Officials expect to move into the 18,000-square-foot facility at 301 E. Jackson St. by the summer of 2025.

The beginning of the $8 million project ends a 20-plus-year mission to expand city space for a growing staff. The new building will have about 10,000 square-feet more than the old one.

“The one that we’ve had (at 1001 Buchanan Drive) has worked fine as a temporary solution, but it’s too small and we’ve outgrown it,” City Manager David Vaughn said. “We actually have staff positions that we need to fill, but we don’t have any place to put them.” 

Winter Storm Uri in February 2021 caused flooding at the current building, making the need for a new City Hall even more urgent.

“The building flooded from water twice in three months,” Vaughn said. “That’s not something you enjoy going through with the remediation and the cleanup and all that. That’s when council said, ‘It’s time to do something.’”

Building a new City Hall will actually save the city money as it switches from renting to owning.

“As time has gone on, we’ve had to rent additional suites and we’re just at the max of what we can do,” Vaughn said.

Burnet city departments relocating to the new building include utility billing, municipal court, planning and development, engineering, finance, economic development, and the city manager’s office. 

The Public Works Department will not make the move.

A rendering of the new Burnet City Hall to be built at 301 E. Jackson St. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The building’s design also includes meeting space for the Burnet City Council and city boards and commissions. Government meetings are currently held at the Burnet Municipal Airport, 2302 U.S. 281 South.

The new City Hall is being built near Burnet’s historic courthouse square, which could reinvigorate economic activity, Vaughn said.

“We wanted it to be close to the Historic Downtown District to help grow and revitalize this area,” he said. “We wanted more traffic down here.”

The city had previously announced its intention to house departments in the former Bealls building but eventually decided against that.

“Originally, we thought it would be a less expensive option,” Vaughn said. “When it was all said and done, it was only about a $500,000 difference between remodeling a 40-year-old building and building a brand-new building where the council wanted it built.”

Greystone Construction is in charge of the work at 301 E. Jackson St.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Vaughn said.