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Poulsbo signs city hall building contract

POULSBO — The proverbial city hall ball is still on a roll toward a 2009 project completion.

Wednesday afternoon the Poulsbo City Council finalized the city’s contract with Lewis Architecture + Interior Design.

Lewis Architecture was one of 11 firms that applied for the job. The firm was chosen after a November interview process.

The city’s contract with the firm will cost $666,400. In exchange, Lewis representatives will design what Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade has said will be a civic center representative of Poulsbo’s Scandinavian and Pacific Northwest heritage.

Discussions with each city department to determine spacial and office needs have already begun. Quade said weekly on-site meetings are now being held as the city, architects and the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority — acting as project manager for the city — move forward into the design planning stages.

“I’m so pleased that we are all united behind this effort,” Quade said after the council’s go-ahead to sign the contract. She said she is looking forward to creating a city hall fit for both citizens and employees of Poulsbo.

The contract outlines the project as a multi-level, 30,000-square-foot structure with underbuilding parking located on the 26,796 square foot site at Moe Street and Third Avenue. The document lists the city’s overall budget for the project at $12.8 million. The architect’s fee is an amount based on a set percentage of the construction work to be done. They will create spacing schematics, develop civil, landscape and interior designs and hold at least three informational meetings for the public.

Lewis principal Ross Jamieson was on hand to hear the council’s ideas for the new council chambers.

Several said they’d like to see the room fill multiple purposes and be a place for community meetings as well as city business.

Councilwoman Becky Erickson said she’d like the chambers to be encouraging to citizens, so they aren’t intimidated from participating.

“The goal should be, have it as welcoming as we can for the citizens,” she said. “It should be a flexible working room where the citizens are comfortable to come and talk to the council.”

City council members who serve on the Long Range Planning Committee recently visited five other city hall sites, two of which were designed by Lewis Architecture. Quade said the trips were helpful in determining what Poulsbo does and doesn’t want to incorporate in the building.

She, along with councilwoman Connie Lord, said thinking about future expansions and outfitting the structure with ample growth room will be important in establishing the building’s longevity.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to get this right but I know we can do it,” Lord said.

Janetmarie Specht Valiga, a Poulsbo resident who regularly attends city meetings, said she’d like to see a structure with easy-to-follow signage that is both welcoming and accessible to the handicapped and elderly.

“I want to make it accessible for everyone so they can all come in and feel comfortable,” she said. “So everyone can participate.”

She said special headphones that allow those with hearing difficulties to better understand what is being said would be a beneficial addition, as would a set up that allowed for short walks from the parking lot to meeting rooms.

For more information and to see other city halls built by Lewis Architecture, visit www.lewisarchitects.com.

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