Fishers: New Arts & Municipal Complex Design and Programming Unveiled at April City Council Meeting

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The City of Fishers presented the design and programming plans for its new Arts & Municipal Complex this evening to its City Council during a public Work Session. The City sought RFPQs for a new Complex in the fall of 2021 after receiving engineering reports deeming the existing City Hall is in dire need of millions of dollars of repairs due to foundational and mechanical failures.

"We've been able to leverage an unfortunate situation into an opportunity to answer a longstanding need in our community and to continue making investments in arts and culture in Fishers," said Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness. "I'm grateful for the collaboration of Fishers' arts groups, the Indianapolis Arts Center, and the City Council to make this a reality. Upon completion of this building, our arts community will have a home, and city staff will be able to better collaborate and effectively serve our community every day."

With a large pedestrian breezeway at its center, the three-story Arts & Municipal Complex will dedicate its first floor to the Fishers Art Center, a dynamic arts education facility with a dedicated exhibit, performance, and gathering spaces. In coordination with the Fishers Arts & Culture Commission, the City of Fishers collaborated with the Indianapolis Art Center to leverage their 90 years of experience and expertise to determine space needs for the Art Center. To draw from the Art Center's vast experience and expertise, the City of Fishers intends to enter into an operator's agreement with the Indianapolis Art Center to program and operate the facility.

The Fishers Art Center will also feature a flexible studio-style theater with varying seating and configuration options to accommodate a variety of performances, meetings, and events. The theater will seat up to 250 for performances and more than 330 for flat-floor events. Fishers-based artists, performance groups, and nonprofits will have priority usage of the theater space. The upper floors of the complex will serve as a home for city administrative offices, with roughly 60 office spaces available. Fishers-based artists, performance groups, and nonprofits will receive preferential use of the theater space.

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"We are eager to collaborate with Fishers leaders and residents to fill the Fishers Arts Center with programming that's based on best practices but is also uniquely matched to the history, culture, and diverse population of Fishers," said Indianapolis Art Center President and CEO Mark Williams. "We look forward to classes, exhibitions, special events, and more that will celebrate, nurture and display the full range of Fishers' residents' creativity."

The Art Center was integrated into the rebuild of Fishers City Hall as a result of community feedback indicating a desire and demand for arts education and experiences within the community. The Art Center will be in the heart of the Fishers Nickel Plate District, a designated Statewide Cultural District.

"This is an exciting time for the arts community in Fishers," remarked David Decker, president of the Fishers Arts & Culture Commission. "Having a physical home in Fishers was a long-term goal for many of us in the arts community and I can't think of a better location than this. We look forward to collaborating with Indianapolis Arts Center to continue to grow and drive arts in Fishers."

The second and third floors of the building will hold municipal offices and conference rooms to accommodate current staffing levels while planning for flexibility for potential future growth if needed.

The Arts & Municipal Complex will replace the existing footprint of City Hall located at 1 Municipal Drive with a slight expansion of its footprint to the east and west. Current parking lot access and capacities will be maintained.  Following stakeholder feedback and design period, construction for the Arts & Municipal Complex will commence in the fall of 2022 following the demolition of the existing City Hall structure. Access to the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater (NPD AMP) and much of the AMP lawn will be maintained throughout the construction period. Residents conducting business with the City will continue to have access to and complete transactions at the City Services Building at 3 Municipal Drive. More detailed information and timelines will be released as they become available.

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The City sought the consensus of the City Council during a May 2021 public meeting to determine the benefits and risks of further investment in the existing City Hall compared to the demolition and reconstruction of a new facility. City staff shared the results of an engineering report that indicated the facility's foundation was failing, causing the building to sink in addition to a number of mechanical issues. City Council gave City staff the direction to begin the process of due diligence to seek RFPQs for the project. RFPQs were submitted to the city in fall 2021 with a design scoping agreement awarded to Meyer Najem and Delv Design in December 2021.

"It's been an incredible experience to lead the design of the Arts & Municipal Complex – not just professionally but personally as a resident of Fishers," said Jeremy Welu, principal and co-founder of Delv Design. "The partnership with Meyer Najem and the City has allowed us to truly meet the goals of this project: to provide a functional and beautiful community beacon that becomes a 'building for the people,' and we couldn't be more excited to see it come to fruition."

The new facility has an estimated budget of $22.8 million. Deputy Mayor Elliott Hultgren and City Controller Lisa Bradford presented the financial strategy for the funding the facility which will include using $6 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, $16 million in municipal bonds, and the remaining balance using City cash reserves. No property or income taxes will increase as a result of this project.

Residents, artists, and interested parties may receive updates or participate in programming discussions and suggestions may submit an interest form here.

For the latest information on this project, visit fishers.in.us/ArtsMunicipalComplex

Filed Under: Government, City

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