Gulfport City Hall renovation making progress (pigeons take notice)

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX)-Gulfport City Hall is in the middle of an extreme makeover. Workers have been busy with a one million dollar renovation of the downtown landmark.

The last major renovation was back in 1980.

In about 60 days, you'll see the new and improved Gulfport City Hall.

The most noticeable change is the exterior color. Light blue has given way to Dove White.

Workers are now busy remodeling the inside. Painters move room to room, with plastering crews also making the rounds through the century old building.

City council members will notice a spruced-up chambers: Expanded crown molding and buffed heart-of-pine floors.

"The old floor there, I guess that was the original old pine wood floor that is really turning out beautiful. Hopefully, the downstairs will have some of the same in the foyer coming in and the mayor's office and conference room we'll see some of that same old pine floor," said contractor Don Halle of Gulf Construction.

"Then we're going to come in and run some crown up around the top," said Teddy Carraway, as the superintendent gave visitors a tour of this work-in-progress.

The contractor worked with Archives and History to preserve as much of the original structure as possible. The historic structure was built amazingly sturdy back in 1905.

"Most of the joists and trusses and things were built out of cedar. And it's amazing how solid some of this stuff still is. There's no rot in it. To think that they've been through over 100 years," said Ricky Wilkinson with Gulf Construction.

One city hall improvement involves an eviction of sorts. Pigeons will have to find somewhere else to roost. Workers will soon be installing anti-pigeon spikes to keep the birds off the building.

Some spikes have already been fastened atop the columns.

"These are called "pigeon spikes"," said Wilkinson, as he showed visitors a roll of metal spike strips, "And they're mounted to the roof. And what will happen, the pigeon comes up and they can't land on these things."

The million dollar facelift, inside and out, should be done by the first of April.

"This is a solid building. It's good for another 105 years," said Carraway.

The copper cupola is a new addition atop City Hall. And for the first time in decades, it is now lighted at night.