After a year and a half of work on the $18 million project, five departments opened their doors on the first floor of the substantially complete New Canaan Town Hall on Wednesday morning.

Town workers opened offices of the town clerk, assessor, tax collector, department of public works and registrar of voters at the revamped building.

The inside and outside of the new building melds the desire to preserve the building's traditional appearance while meeting future space needs, said Mike Pastore, the director of public works.

"In terms of the renovation, space was a driver, and meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements was another," he said.

More Information

Fact box

The project, which included $14 million in construction costs, preserves the building's historic elements, including the Main Street façade, as it was in the 1909 design.

"I've had several people come in and say they are pleased that the old part of the building was restored, but were also happy with the parts of the building that are new," Pastore said.

The new building, designed by KSQ Architect, includes a new main entrance and about 10,000 square feet of additional space, with a total size of about 35,000 square feet. The building also is completely handicapped accessible.

Work to complete the second floor of the town hall continues. It will house the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, fire marshal, and Human Resources, Pastore said. Those departments are scheduled to move into the building by late summer.

Sometime next fall, the town's land-use department will be the last department to transition into the new building and will remain at Irwin Park until the building season is over, Pastore said.

During the renovation, government offices were moved to spaces at 237 Elm St. and at the New Canaan Police Department at 174 South Ave.