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The new municipal complex will have a view of the ocean Molly Murray/ The News Journal

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From the second floor of the Rehoboth Beach municipal building, which is still under construction, there's a killer view. Look east and there's the ocean. Look south and you can people-watch on Rehoboth Avenue. To the north is the skyline of the city; and to the west, the replica of the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse. The original tumbled into the sea in 1926.

The project is nearly $3 million over budget, but at least there are nice views.

This is what people will see when they walk in the new building, expected to open this fall, to attend meetings. The commissioners meeting room is viewless. The smaller caucus room is the one with the ocean view.

From the outside, said Ben McCall, the site representative for EDiS, the company that is managing construction, there will be large expanses of glass.

"The city commissioners decided some time ago that the old City Hall, which was built in 1964, was totally inadequate," said Rehoboth Beach Mayor Sam Cooper.

Of particular concern, he said was the Police Department.

"The space they were in was too small. A lot of it was in the basement. It had mold issues," Cooper said.

The new building will give the Police Department about four times as much space, increase security and have automatic electric backup systems that keep the dispatchers' computers up and running even during a power outage, McCall said.

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City commissioners went on a tour of the building Friday to see how work was progressing.

The new building also will allow the city to consolidate offices that are now spread out along Rehoboth Avenue. The building and licensing department, for instance, will return to the main municipal complex.

Meanwhile, said City Manager Sharon Lynn, the city is working with the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce on a lease for the existing building and licensing building.

That will get the chamber in the center of the downtown business district.

Lynn said the new municipal building will total 43,000 square feet. The lower level and the third floor will include some space for growth.

The construction project hasn't been without controversy.

Earlier this month city officials went over outstanding change orders for the project at their monthly workshop meeting.

The project, originally estimated at $18 million, is $2.68 million over budget because of a string of unexpected expenses that range from more extensive stormwater management to adding handrails that were inadvertently left out of the plans.

LIVE: Rehoboth City Hall construction cam

Despite the overrun, no fee increases are anticipated in the upcoming budget. Instead, city officials will draw on a cash reserve fund and $1.3 million that is already budgeted to cover the project in the proposed budget, Cooper said.

On the tour, commissioners got to see much of the steel being used to frame the building. Drywall is being hung in the basement, and insulation is going in on the third floor.

"Where is the front door?" asked Commissioner Toni Sharp.

There will be two, McCall said. Visitors can enter from an entrance off Rehoboth Avenue, or they can come into the municipal entrance through the doors that lead into Convention Hall.

There are some significant changes. The old entrance to Convention Hall was on the west side of the old City Hall. The new entrance will be on the east side. The Police Department will have a dedicated entrance off Rehoboth Avenue.

Contact Molly Murray at (302) 463-3334 or mmurray@delawareonline.com. Follow her on Twitter @MollyMurraytnj.

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