As Enumclaw’s City Hall nears its 100th birthday, the city council is looking to give the building a bit of a facelift.
City staff and leaders have known for years that the structure was in need of more than just a touch-up, and initially, the undertaking was going to tackle the whole building — an estimated $500,000 undertaking.
But due to timing issues and shifting priorities, the city has settled to just restore the front for now, as “the brick paver stairs… [are] in particularly poor condition,” reads an April 6 staff report to the city council. This more focused project is expected to cost around $215,000.
Here’s a bit of history about city hall and its upcoming restoration.
Even though Enumclaw was incorporated as a city in 1913, it would be another eight years before an official City Hall was constructed, said Mayor Jan Molinaro. He added that once a bond issue was passed and the plans were finalized, it only took three months to build, “which is amazing to me.”
It was in the 1940s that City Hall was expanded, giving it a west wing. Back then, the building was far busier than it is now.
“This used to be a fire station. It used to be a police [station] and jail. And city council,” Molinaro said. “It’s pretty wild, when you look at the history.”
The space currently being used as the council chambers was upgraded again in the 1980s, but that pretty much wraps up all the major work ever done on the building.
“It needs work. TLC, big time,” Molinaro said, pointing to cracks that have appeared around the structure. “The building needs some repairs to have a great environment for the citizens and the staff that work here.”
But it’s not that easy restoring a century-old building; for example, staff pointed out that the paver bricks used at City Hall are no longer manufactured. Luckily, “limited supplied of recycled brick pavers are available in recycle yards in the region,” a staff report reads.
According to Public Works Director Jeff Lincoln, the city originally budgeted $125,000 in order to restore all of City Hall.
However, that budget failed to take into consideration any historical preservation.
“The deliberate historic restoration includes matching replaced brick and chemically matching the existing mortar to ensure that the rehabilitation will not cause more damage in the long run,” city documents read. “Additionally, the cost did not include the restoration of the aged windows, damaged wood and refinishing doors, etc.”
After seeking the advice of a masonry expert, the city learned it would cost upward of $500,000 to tackle the whole building.
“We did not believe that a $500,000 cost was advisable relative to all other priorities,” Lincoln wrote in an email. “The Public Works Committee was kept appraised of the approach, and did ask why we did not undertake the whole thing at once. Our recommendation was to restore the south face and determine what the real bid price would be.”
Timing was also an issue, since the city is planning a City Hall Centennial Anniversary in the fall, and construction must be completed by then.
“I hope to do a week [of celebration] and just have the opportunity to hopefully open City Hall to the public again,” Molinaro said.
No work schedule has been determined — a bid for the project has not yet been awarded.