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City chooses civic center design
The look of the City of Sequim's new city hall and police station is nearly set.
The Sequim City Council gave the unanimous go-ahead on Dec. 6 to begin negotiations for the $11.85 million civic center with Lydig Construction and Integrus Architecture. City Manager Steve Burkett and City Attorney Craig Ritchie will meet with the design-build team this week with city councilors slated to review the contract at their Jan. 6 meeting.
Burkett said demolition of the old city hall and the former Serenity House space could occur in late January or early February with construction beginning in March or April. Completion of the civic center is tentatively set for April 29, 2015.
Lydig/Integrus was recommended over BNBuilders and Miller Hull by Burkett and a committee of Mayor Ken Hays, Councilors Erik Erichsen and Laura Dubois, Public Works Manager Paul Haines and Police Chief Bill Dickinson.
“We were really fortunate,” Burkett said. "Both of them had really good designs. It could have gone either way.”
But it came down to the look of one over the other, he said.
“I sort of like the look of (BNBuilders/ Miller Hull) building with two-story glass but a lot of people didn't like that. They said it didn't look like Sequim,” he said.
“Some advantages for (Lydig/Integrus) is that they had a larger commons area next to Sequim Avenue. A lot of people were intrigued by that.”
A third team, Hoffman Construction of Seattle & Belay Architecture of Tacoma, created a design but Burkett said the committee ruled they were not compliant because they exceeded the city's design budget by about $900,000.
Ritchie said BNBuilders and Miller Hull will receive $125,000 for their design but Hoffman/Belay will not.
“The city council determined (Hoffman/Belay) was not a responsive bid and they chose not to waive their $900,000 overage,” he said. “We just don't have the money. It makes it undoable for us.”
The $125,000 formerly designated to Hoffman/Belay will go back into the civic center's capital budget, Ritchie said.
The city also holds an option that if contract negotiations fail with Lydig/Integrus they can negotiate with BNBuilders/Miller Hull.
The overall cost for the civic center, including the land purchase and survey, is $15 million to $15.5 million, city officials estimate.
The city will pay it off with about $10.4 million in bonds and about $5 million from savings. It looks to repay the loans over 30 years for $660,000 a year with real estate excise tax for $75,000, savings from current rentals $200,000, the city’s general fund at $160,000 and the voter-approved public safety tax at an estimated $225,000 a year that passed in August 2012 by 1,257 votes (60.1 percent) to 834 (39.9 percent).
Of the 25 participants who commented at an open house on Dec. 3, most people (16) preferred Lydig/Integrus, eight preferred BNBuilders/Miller Hull and one person preferred not building at all.
Lydig/Integrus supporters said the design fits the community, has an outdoor plaza, low height clearance and the ability to expand.
Those preferring BNBuilders/Miller Hull mostly liked its energy-efficient design, flow and dual-purpose lobby. They also approved of the use of non-toxic materials.
Participants added that they'd like to see a water feature, less glass on the building, and a band shell added to the final plan.
They were concerned about use of space, available parking downtown and the overall "dated" look of both options.
Dickinson said he preferred the Lydig/Integrus design because it exclusively had a sally port setup and put the police department all in one space. He also liked the plaza concept facing Sequim Avenue.
Haines said he liked the expansion options for both teams and they both had good footprints for the future of the building.
All three design teams issued concerns with meeting the initial $11.65 million construction threshold so city councilors unanimously approved a $200,000 increase for the project on Nov. 25.
Ritchie said they asked the teams to show a proposal for the lesser amount but the team's alternative plans weren't complete and simply said they'd have to subtract from something in the more expensive plan.
However, Ritchie said the city didn't narrowly define the alternative.
Both final applicants failed to meet some standards in the request for a proposal, Ritchie said, such as certain room sizes, but nothing that would restrict them from qualifying.
Burkett said the plan could be changed with some rooms and walls being moved if needed.
As for an emergency operations center in the police department, Ritchie said it's an alternative idea that could or could not happen.
When the public safety tax went to voters, he said it was one of the things the tax could support.
“All of the money is going to public safety,” Ritchie said. “We're not using any of the public safety money from the tax for the city hall.”
Burkett said the city wasn't highly descriptive in the scope of an emergency operations center and asked for the price of one.
He seemed optimistic that they can work with the design-build team to reduce its price.
For more information on the civic center project, call 683-4139 or visit sequimwa.gov.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.