FOLEY – Foley officials are drawing up plans to convert the former National Guard armory into recreation space and municipal offices.
The Foley City Council approved a budget increase to create plans to convert the building behind City Hall into offices and other uses. The city will pay the firm of PCDA Architecture of Mobile $4,750 to draw up the plans.
David Thompson, executive director of leisure services, said city officials have been studying uses for the site since Foley acquired the building.
“We inherited the armory this year,” Thompson told council members. “What we’re asking is to try to move forward with conceptual plans on what we want to do with that building. This is going to be a combination of leisure building as well as some city offices that we need. So we’re asking you to just move forward with that now to try to put together some concepts on what we want to do with that building.”
Mayor Ralph Hellmich said that since Foley acquired the building, officials have discussed uses for the site. He said the plans will help determine the best use of the facility.
“We’ve got some ideas but what we need is we need an architectural plan to be sure it all fits in properly and that’s where we’re going with this,” Hellmich said.
The current building plans include renovating the restrooms to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as adding office space for city employees, offices for the leisure recreation director and department staff, classroom space, a lobby and front desk area, a special needs multipurpose room and restroom, offices for the Foley Human Resources Department and other purposes.
Thompson said the restrooms are one of the top priorities.
“ADA compliant bathrooms are probably number one on that list because the bathrooms are not ADA compliant at the moment,” Thompson said.
The armory building was dedicated by the National Guard in 1970, replacing a building on Alabama 59 that was later used as an antiques mall and is now a restaurant.
In 2012, the U.S. Army announced plans to replace that armory with a new facility.
The City Council agreed to exchange 30 acres of municipal property near the Foley Beach Express for the old armory building and property, which is located behind City Hall.
The new armory, a 30,540-square foot facility, opened on January 2023.