News

Tight fit in City Hall leads to remodel

by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

Cramped conditions in Sequim City Hall are leading the city council and staff to pursue a remodel of the building on Cedar Street.

 

“The basic problem we’re solving is that we don’t have enough office space,” City Manager Steve

Burkett said.

 

City councilors unanimously approved a budget on Monday, July 11, of up to $50,000 from the Capital Facilities Fund for a potential contract and contingencies.

 

Burkett said staff spoke with some contractors for an estimate on the improvements and they will go to bid for the project and award it to the lowest responsible bidder.

 

The remodel of the 38-year- old building creates a lunchroom, a conference room, adds more office space and changes the front counter and entrance to make it more attractive and businesslike, Burkett said.

 

Office spaces affected are finance/utility billing, city manager, city clerk and human resources and payroll. Human resources and payroll would move from the recently renovated City Hall Annex in Suite 17 next to the Sequim Police Station.

 

Burkett said the remodel would be modest and the conference and lunch/break rooms are much needed. Many employees eat at their desks because there isn’t a seating area in the kitchen. The conference room also will be used for business such as issuing passport applications and discussing utility bills confidentially.

 

Burkett said crews would try to avoid replacing carpet but might do so if needed.

 

Some employees will shift spaces. Burkett’s office will move from the back to the front of the building, with the city clerks and Karen Goschen, administrative services director, moving into Burkett’s old office.

New city hall planned

Burkett said the city’s plan since remodeling Suite 17 and the police station was to bring the city hall up to similar standards.

 

More space was created through renovation of Suite 17 in the retail Sequim Village Center with a revised five-year lease through Dec. 31, 2015. The landlord, the McNish Family, agreed to make improvements to 3,000 square feet of the 5,280-square-foot space to add new offices and work stations.

 

The city renegotiated renovations as part of the rental agreement to increase monthly payments by nearly $1,100. Another rental agreement for the Planning/Public Works space on Fifth Avenue was reduced by $900 per month around the same time with landlords Lex Morgan and André Baritelle.

 

Burkett said the city remains dedicated to building a new city hall.

 

“The very earliest we might have a new city hall would be in three years,” Burkett said. “I suspect it’ll be a little longer than that … I think it’s reasonable to make these modest improvements in the current city hall while continuing planning for a new one.”

 

To build a new city hall, the city would need to acquire property, develop plans and identify funding for the project.

 

Mayor Ken Hays said the remodel is a worthwhile improvement that should improve customer service efficiency and privacy. Burkett said the remodel should extend the useful life of the current city hall before new construction is finalized.

 

Contact Sequim City Hall, 152 W. Cedar St., at 683-4139.

 

 

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