The restoration of Bloemfontein City Hall has proven to be fruitful as the national monument is set to be completed in December 2019. This was revealed as Mangaung Metro Municipality (MMM) Executive Mayor Olly Mlamleli was taken on a tour of the reconstruction site by architect Anton Roodt on Wednesday.
The City Hall was gutted by a fire in 2017 after a contentious municipal workers’ strike. The ferocious fire started under the hall’s stage before making its way up the curtains and destroying the ceiling and roof. A large part of the hall was affected as the interior walls are still covered in soot. “The reconstruction of this building is in itself a historical matter,” said Mayor Mlamleli as she walked through the hall.
“We are definitely on schedule at the moment to be done by the end of the year. There may be smaller details to be completed but by then we will be substantially done with the project,” Roodt explained to the mayor.
Mlamleli expressed the Metro’s faith in the expertise of the reconstruction team. “My main reason for being here today was to see how the project is because the people of Mangaung and I have an interest in knowing how the process is going,” she said. “The City Hall will be completed soon because this is a great team with specialists and disciplined workers, so everything is on time.”
The entire process has been funded by insurance after restoration went into full swing during January of this year. “The size of the floor is unique in South Africa and after the fire it remained because the springs in the floor absorbed the impact of the roof. So it can take some heavy dancing, I am sure,” said Roodt who is also the Principal Agent of the massive project.
Apart from aspects of the hall that have to be reconstructed to its original state as a national monument, upgrades will also form part of the completed building. “Other unique features that will be brought up to date are the lighting and sound as well as state-of-the-art air- conditioning,” elaborated Roodt.
The ceiling was redone with material from overseas after the original material, which included asbestos, was expertly removed from the building. Mlamleli expressed that details of the hall’s opening have not yet been finalised.