City Hall was first built as Ames High School in 1938.
It later served as Central Junior High School from 1961 to 1986. Eventually a new Middle School was built and the building sat empty for a few years.
The City of Ames purchased the building in the late 1980s and with the help of a bond issue, renovated the building to bring many City Departments together under one roof.
City personnel moved into the completed facility in 1990. Many features were kept as links to the building's past as a school. These include some original light fixtures and cupboards in the City Council Chambers, a gymnasium and auditorium, which are open to the public and the AHS, which is embedded in the floor of the entry area on first floor.
In addition, City Hall boasts many artworks which were completed by former Ames High School graduates or residents of Ames.
The site is the home to the following offices:
- First floor - Utility Customer Services, Ames Police Department, Human Resources and most of the Finance Department are on the first floor
- Second floor - Inspections, Public Works Administration and Engineering, Planning and Housing, Clerk of Court (state office) Assessor's Office, City Attorney and City Manager/City Clerk's Office, which also houses the Mayor's office. City Council Chambers are also housed on the second floor, along with TV 12 facilities
- Basement - The Print Shop, Police Special Operations and Information Services are all located in the basement of City Hall