Grinnell’s New City Offices: Take a Quick Tour
by Michael McAllister
“The people’s house.” That phrase has often been applied to various legislative buildings—the United States House of Representatives, for example—but, no matter the level, it is clear that any building or any suite of offices conducting business on behalf of the people could claim the title.
In Grinnell, the people’s house just moved.
As a result of a number of developments, Grinnell’s Community Center was sold in September of 2016 to Catalyst Development, LLC, and the building will become Hotel Grinnell in a few months. Meanwhile, arrangements began with the help of local moving services to relocate city offices to the Spaulding Center for Transportation, with the major portion of the move completed during the week of January 23.
A Virtual Tour
To conduct business with the city, enter the building from the west. The address is 520 4th Avenue. Parking is available directly to the west of the building, some spots with limited time.
Once inside the building, you have two choices: stairs or an elevator. You will find both options on your left. The elevator seems to be watched over by The Pioneer Family, a sculpture by Robert Neely
presented to the city of Grinnell by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1937. Since city staff members are staking out new territory, the image of pioneers seems appropriate.
There is a great deal of glass in the Spaulding building, and that theme continues in the new city offices—literal transparency. Stepping into the office complex after the stairs or the elevator, you are likely to be greeted by Sharon Mealey (above), who will direct you to the proper official.
The office of City Manager Russ Behrens (above) is in the northwest corner of the complex. Behrens reports that the move in some respects went smoother than expected. He was concerned about the transfer of computers, servers, and Internet connectivity, but he credits Windstream with facilitating an efficient transition.
He also credits Kay Cmelik, City Clerk and Finance Director (above), with handling the logistics from a recommended company and design features of the move. Cmelik is pleased with the open aspects of the new office arrangement as well as energy-saving innovations such as automatic lights-out after business hours. Energy efficiency, she reports, was a key consideration of the new office arrangement.
If you continue walk east past the city clerk’s office, you will come upon Mayor Canfield (below) in his office at the east end of the room. His desk faces west and the center portion of the complex.
Roomy cubicles take up that center portion in which staff members are afforded both privacy and accessibility.
In addition to the city’s administrative offices, Poweshiek Iowa Development and the Grinnell Housing Authority are now housed in the Spaulding building.
Neutral colors, extensive visibility, compact storage, and convenient arrangement—these factors contribute to an atmosphere of general productivity. It will be a few weeks before there is a place for everything and everything is in its place, but the major portion of the move is complete.
If you need only to drop off a payment, a box is in place to the west of the building. But if you have a question a concern, feel free to stop in and inquire. After all—it’s your house.