Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - At a special ceremony on Monday, Interim Mayor Jordan Hess, County Commission Chair Josh Slotnick, project managers from the city and the county, and the project architect met first with reporters and then the public for a tour of what will eventually become the center of city and county government with a new name.

Hess spoke with KGVO News about the project.

The Downtown Federal Building will be Renamed in Honor of John Engen

“This morning we had a dedication ceremony to formally name and dedicate the building,” began Mayor Hess. “We received that building free of cost on January 5 of this year from the Federal General Services Administration, and that building will eventually become the new home for city and county government. One of the things that we thought about throughout this process was that it is an incredibly complicated process moving into that building, getting city and county, and everyone into the same space. But it turns out at the end of the day, it's the cheapest way to meet the space needs of local government.”

Hess said there will be many moving parts in renovating and remodeling the space, including retaining the present U.S. Post Office inside the building.

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It will Take $14 to $16 Million to Completely Remodel the Historic Building

“It preserves the historic building, yet keeps government downtown,” he said. “It really improves public access to government, and it's the cheapest way to go. It does need updating, it needs to have asbestos remediation. It needs to have lead remediation. It needs some electrical work in particular, we have some Federal Brownfields funding that we'll use to do a lot of that remediation. So we've been working on getting that going.”

Hess said the name of the to-be remodeled building will honor Missoula’s late Mayor John Engen.

Hess was Proud to Announce the Renaming of the Building Honoring John Engen

“In the spirit of finding a good solution that may not necessarily be the simplest solution, I thought of our former colleague and friend, Mayor, John Engen, and that was really how he rolled. He (Engen) was always coming up with partnerships and collaborative projects and working together to accomplish challenging things. We proclaimed the building to be called the John Engen Local Government Building and in a couple of years when all the construction is complete, that'll be the new home of city and county government.”

Hess said it will take several years with a projected budget of between $14 and $16 million to remodel, remediate and outfit the building. Hess said behind the scenes work is already underway to make the building the center of city and county government in Missoula.

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