A first batch of Medford city employees moved back Saturday into City Hall after an 11-month displacement for building renovations.

A first batch of Medford city employees moved back Saturday into City Hall after an 11-month displacement for building renovations.

About 33 employees, including the city manager, city recorder and finance and human resources departments, left their temporary quarters at the Microvellum Inc. building at West Sixth Street to move into the third floor of City Hall, 411 W. Eighth St.

Employees from the second floor and first floor will return to City Hall Sept. 12 and Sept. 19 respectively.

"By Sept. 21, we should have everybody back in City Hall," said Brian Sjothun, Medford Parks and Recreation director.

The opening of the third floor includes the debut of the City Council's remodeled chambers. The new chambers include theater-style seating and the new layout allows council members to sit facing audience members instead of being encircled by the audience, a configuration that caused council members' backs to be toward spectators.

"They'll be eye-to-eye with the presenter," said Dobey Elliott, city parks superintendent who is coordinating the move.

The chambers lost 21 seats in the remodel but gained two conference rooms, which can serve as overflow rooms where people can watch a council meeting via live television. The main chamber has 107 seats, while each conference room has 22.

The first council meeting in the new space is tentatively set for Thursday, Sjothun said.

The $3.5 million in renovations by Grants Pass-based Ausland Builders Inc. includes new heating and air-conditioning systems, energy-efficient lighting and toilets, new hallway and bathroom tiling and new carpeting in some offices.

As a result of energy-efficient lighting, heating and air-conditioning systems, the city can expect to spend 35 percent less annually on electricity and natural gas, Elliott said.

On the second floor, three new customer service windows in the main hallway will replace one window that was in a crowded corridor leading to offices.

There also is a new customer service window for business licenses on the third floor, which will be open starting Monday.

Several rooms were reconfigured to create a space called the "Medford Room," where City Council can hold study sessions when there isn't a large audience, and to create three more office spaces in the human resources and finance departments.

More departments will move on upcoming Saturdays.

Municipal Court, technical services and some engineering employees will return to City Hall Sept. 12 from their temporary Main Street quarters in the Carnegie building next to Alba Park.

The police department will begin moving Sept. 19 from the Carnegie building into City Hall's first floor.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.