Gulfport City Hall Renovations Underway

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX)-Gulfport City Hall is getting an extreme makeover. The downtown building will be restored both inside and out.

The long awaited project will bring a fresh look to a familiar landmark.

It has stood tall for more than a century and withstood Katrina's wind and water. The building hasn't been renovated in nearly 30 years.

The significant restoration now underway, got started on the roof.

The familiar light blue building with its impressive columns is still quite sturdy for its age, including a solid, old fashioned roof deck.

"This is tongue and groove decking on this thing. It was a little over a hundred years old. And some of it over the years has rotted. So, we're beginning to replace some of that and put some new," said Ricky Wilkinson with Gulf Construction.

The solid cornerstone attests to the landmark's age. H.D. Moore was mayor of Gulfport when it was built in 1905.

Archives and History is consulting on the renovation, even though this historic structure isn't listed on the National Register.

"We're trying to save all that we can to try and keep it in its natural a state as it was," said Wilkinson.

"All the cornice will be coming off the building. We will be replacing that. We're taking all the old roofing off and replacing that. Putting new roof and shingles on right now," he said.

The contractor tracked down a company in Kentucky that molded the original cornice. That firm still has the molds and will assist with the renovation.

"It's a lovely structure. And it really held together after the storm," said Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr.

Mayor Warr is excited to see the exterior work underway. A contract for the interior renovation will be awarded in the next few days.

"We'll all be moving out. We've got some trailers set aside that we'll be moving into. And we'll go ahead and take care of the interior. The last time any money was spent on this building was 1980, so it's time that we give it an extreme makeover," says Mayor Warr.

"Been a long time coming. But it's a beautiful building. We need to get it done now," the mayor added.

The outside renovation work cost just over $300,000. Bids will be opened for the interior restoration next week.