Plans for new Wood Village City Hall take shape
With Wood Village staff working — and the City Council gathering — in leased office space behind a Bottle Drop facility, plans are evolving to a build the city's new permanent administrative home.
Paul Boundy, Portland-based LRS Architects principal, discussed how his firm is moving forward on City Hall design plans at the Thursday, June 27, council meeting, held in the Pressure Safe building at 23365 N.E. Halsey St.
The architecture firm sought input from councilors and came up with an early price estimate.
"We took the belt and suspenders — everything you would ever want in a City Hall — and incorporated that into this," Boundy said.
The total came in at $630 per square foot, or approximately $5.9 million, for construction of the estimated 9,300 square-foot building at Donald L Robertson Park, 24300 N.E. Halsey St.
"Which just blew me away," Boundy said. "That's an expensive building."
One reason for the high price tag is the heavy use of timber planned throughout the structure to fit the park's rustic ambience.
"This (location) has the double benefit of enhancing the park a little bit, and it's a property you own," Boundy said. "There's also an opportunity to enhance parking for the park."
Councilors want to incoporate a heavy wood feel throughout the building to blend in with the forested section of the park.
However, an LRS estimator told Boundy the extent of the timber used is "pretty extreme for a building this small."
LRS Arhcitecure aims for costs of building construction and siting to total $6 million. That number will provide a padding for soft costs such as furniture and electronic equipment needed to run the municipal building.
The city has $8 million reserved for the project, noted City Manager Bill Peterson.
The architecture firm can only provide rough estimates, and a construction subcontractor can provide more accurate numbers than LRS.
Councilors agreed on the plan and unanimously voted to hire a contractor to determine the best way to move forward within budget constraints. The council also opted to continue working with LRS Architects for the next design phases.
While a contractor can provide more specific ways to lower the price, Boundy offered a few preliminary money-saving suggestions at the meeting.
One way to cut down on timber costs would be using less wood, he said. Also, the city could use cross-laminated timber (CLT) instead of traditional lumber. CLT is made by stacking layers of timber planks at 90 degrees to each other, using adhesives to essentially glue everything together and then pressing the layers to form a solid panel.
CLT wasn't an option a year ago because it was relativity unknown, and builders were required to purchase portions much larger than would be needed for a 9,300 square-foot building.
Plans will now evolve based on preliminary design concepts from the council's wants and an effort to work within budget constraints.
"From this point forward the decisions are kind of based on money," Boundy said. "The decisions before were based on what you guys want. We know what you want. We know you can't quite afford it the way we designed it, and our goal is, let's get what you want in the budget (that) you can afford."
The city sold its long-running administrative building and surrounding land at 2055 N.E. 238th Drive to developer William & Dames Development Inc. The purchase closed on Friday, June 28. The developer plans on constructing apartments on bare land, raze the building and construct a commercial center on the high-profile site.
Making an entrance
Plans for the new City Hall include building a large wood canopy above a large entrance to the building facing Halsey Street. The space will work as a staging area for outdoor events sheltered from the weather. However, Boundy said another way to cut costs could be to lower the covering's size.
City Council President Patricia Smith understands certain council requests must be trimmed, but was hesitant to make that any smaller.
"I really like that big entrance thing coming in," she said.
Plans also call for the building to be constructed with a large City Council Chambers in the building's center. Staff offices and other workspaces will be built around the public meeting space.
City Manager Peterson added he was thrilled with the design, and asked councilors if they were happy with the layout. Councilors agreed the design looks great.
"I think it looks pretty nice," City Councilor John Miner said. "I think now we just need to get after (it) and get serious about what we really need."
LRS Architecture is aiming for a Spring 2020 construction date.
Peterson said a balance between council wants and budget constraints can be found.
"We want that look that says we are proud of who we are," he said. "And I think we can get there. I think we've got the right kind of design: That Pacific Northwest design look that is just really going to look aces."