Members of the Evanston City Council’s Civic Center Committee voted 4-2 tonight in favor of replacing the building’s roof.

The vote came after city staff presented a report outlining roughly $10 million in potential repairs to the building — including about $2 million for the roof.

But there seemed to be little interest among the aldermen in going beyond the roof work to eliminate asbestos hazards, improve the ventilating system, improve fire safety by enclosing stairwells or making other improvements the staff suggested.

The full nine-member City Council would need to ratify the committee’s vote to actually authorize the work.

What do do with the Civic Center has been an ongoing debate among aldermen for years.

After years of planning to sell the building and move city offices to a new site, concerns about strain on the overall city budget and a slowing real estate market persuaded most aldermen more recently to look closely at staying in the nearly century-old building that began its life as a Catholic girls’ school.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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