City Hall: We have a cost, now time to sharpen the pencils

My 8-year-old daughter was interested in what all these meetings her dad goes to are about so she tagged along with me to last week's City Hall Advisory Committee meeting. Turns out that it's not too exciting for an 8-year-old. I asked her after the meeting what she thought about it and she asked why we kept talking about sharpening our pencils. It turns out she did pick up on the gist of the meeting. The architect we are working with was at the meeting and presented the space needs assessment and conceptual cost estimate. 

The result of the study was a 22,864 square foot building with a total project cost of $16.5 million. This includes remodeling of the existing police station as well as expanding the station by 3,000 square feet. The committee's direction was to the architect and city staff was to "sharpen your pencils." Comments from committee members indicated they want that price to come down. There were some members of the public in the audience and one comment was that we should deal with City Hall now and find a solution for the police department later. For reference, $3.8 million of the $16.5 million would go towards the police department. 

What are your thoughts? Is $16.5 million too much? 

A more detailed breakdown of the costs can be found here in the meeting materials. Here's a more thorough summary of the meeting and the process from city staff:

At their April 6 meeting, ARC Architects presented the City Hall Advisory Committee with initial results from space planning meetings. The first glance at space and cost estimates resulted in a rough estimate of about $16.5 million based upon 22,864 square feet in a new City Hall that includes about $1.8 million for a remodel of the current Police Station. The committee provided direction to keep refining the space needs and efficiencies to get the early cost estimate down. On April 7, city leadership met to discuss department adjacencies as well as efficiencies and shared spaces for the initial layout concepts. 

The committee reviewed some draft vision statement consisting of five
key words that rose to the top at a visioning exercise at the March 28 community meeting. The five words were welcoming, functional, common, family and community. The committee asked the community to provide input on four draft vision statements and those will go online next week.

The next community meeting will be held on April 20 at the Mountlake Terrace Library. At this meeting, ARC Architects will have some early concepts of a City Hall layout with a location away from the corner with a public plaza out front near the 232nd/58th intersection. Two other community meetings are scheduled for May 10 at Cedar Way Elementary (doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the program begins at 6:30 p.m) and an open house on June 5, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Interim City Hall, followed by the committee’s recommendation to the City Council as part of the Council meeting. 

The committee is hosting neighborhood chats to talk to individuals and small groups in casual settings. The next neighborhood meetings will be Wednesday, April 12 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at Azteca Mexican Restaurant, 22003 66th Ave. W, April 12 at Coffee with the City from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at the Recreation Pavilion, and Saturday, April 15 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Pavilion during “April Pools Day”.