City Hall is beginning to take form

By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

Imagine a place called City Hall, with all its doors and windows and walls. Imagine it sets in sight of Fennel Creek, complete with trees and winding trails.

That's the job handed to the Seattle architectural firm ARC, which has a full-service contract to build Bonney Lake's new City Hall from design through occupancy.

Beckwith Consultants, contracted by ARC, has been conducting interviews the past few weeks with representatives from each city department to decide space and relationship needs in the building.

"The consultants are putting together a program documenting the square footage needed for each department," said Rex Bond, co-owner of ARC . "They are interviewing each and every department finding out their needs today and in the future. This will help us establish the size of the city hall, whether it will be one, two or three stories, and the relationships that need to be established between departments."

The architectural firm, along with city officials, are trying to design the building for potential expansion if it becomes necessary.

ARC has been working with the city's steering committee to bring the pieces of this puzzle together. The current members of the steering committee are Mayor Bob Young, Councilman Jim Rackley, Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman, Administrative Services Coordinator Don Morrison, Finance Director John Weidenfeller and Planning Director Bob Leedy.

According to Bond, ARC will come up with five different options. Those options will be narrowed down through the steering committee, and finally two master plans will be presented to the City Council around the end of the year.

"This is not going to be a Taj Mahal," Young said. "We want a very functional, utilitarian building that will serve us far into the future."

City Hall will be built on 13 acres of land adjacent to the Target store. The land was purchased for $1.13 million earlier this year.

ARC will be doing a site analysis of the property in the coming months.

"We want to look at the opportunities and constraints of the site," Bond said. "We will look at Fennel Creek and the surrounding roads to best utilize and incorporate all aspects of the area into the design."

The cost of the building is currently being considered in the $4 million to $8 million range.

Young noted a combination of methods will be used to fund the project, including councilmatic funds and reserve and capital funds from Public Works.

"Public Works will use capital funds to buy the old City Hall and we can use those funds," Young said. "We are really debt free, except for the Public Safety Building bond. We're in good shape."

Young also stated if the council decides the Police Department will move to City Hall, the Public Safety Building could be sold to the East Pierce Fire and Rescue.

"We would make the fire department a good deal," Young said. "I'm not out to gouge them. But I think I do favor the Police Department moving to City Hall."

Along with the design of City Hall, ARC will be providing preliminary data on a community center including the size of the building and where it may set in the overall design of the property.

Building a community center is likely dependent on voter approval of a $5 million community/recreation center bond which will be on the Nov. 2 ballot.

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