Atascadero's City Administration Building to reopen in August

Work on Atascadero's City Administration Building is nearing completion in this May 2013 photo.
Work on Atascadero's City Administration Building is nearing completion in this May 2013 photo. ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

Atascadero's historic City Administration Building, closed since the 2003 San Simeon Earthquake, is scheduled to reopen in August.

The public will be able to take their first steps inside the retrofitted building Aug. 2 during a special ticketed event called "An Elegant Evening at the Rotunda."

The city will then begin to move in its staff, furniture and city hall operations from its current spot in Colony Square for an official daylong grand opening Aug. 20.

The re-opening is the capstone of the city’s centennial celebration this year, commemorating 100 years as a colony founded by E.G. Lewis.

Since 2010, the city has taken on a massive project to fix and retrofit the city's dome-topped downtown centerpiece that was built in 1917 and damaged in the 2003 quake.

As part of the project, the upper rotunda's brickwork has been repaired, the foundation has been straightened, every wall in the four-story structure has been reinforced, and the interior has been redone.

The repair project — coming in under budget by about $8 million earlier this year — is in its final stretch. The work was originally estimated at $43 million, but in January estimates came out at $35 million, according to the city. The federal government has agreed to pay $16 million in natural disaster funding.

“The rehabilitation of this truly beautiful and historic building, which is a tangible link to our past and the founding of this community, is something we’re extremely proud of,” Mayor Tom O’Malley said in a statement.

Tickets for the semi-formal "Elegant Evening" event cost $100 per person and include a tour of each room of the building. Dinner will be served in courses in each wing, with dessert in the upper rotunda, according to a news release from the city.

There will also be a silent auction and dancing.

Tickets to the "Elegant Evening" are limited and can be purchased at the current City Hall, 6907 El Camino Real.

The Aug. 20 grand opening will kick off at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony. The public will be free to tour the building with city staff, and docents will be available to answer questions about the history and restoration.

The Atascadero Historical Society will have items on permanent display in the Historic City Hall.

The reopening is expected to revitalize part of the city’s downtown core, city leaders said in a statement.

Ticket proceeds from the "Elegant Evening" event will go to the Fountain Restoration Project, which is dedicated to fixing the outdoor fountains on the four corners of the building.

Original to the structure, they were converted to planters decades ago, according to the city.

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune