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Poulsbo continues city hall momentum

POULSBO — The race has narrowed to four as the city of Poulsbo continues to push plans forward for a new city hall structure at the corner of Moe Street and 3rd Avenue — a structure it hopes to have built and ready in less than two years.

The city’s Long Range Planning Committee met Wednesday morning to discuss a little light weekend reading material they received after the Request for Qualification application deadline last Friday afternoon — 11 architectural firms’ statements of qualification.

And do their homework they did.

Members of the committee, along with city staff and Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority director of urban development Gary Tusberg, sorted through their top choices and discussed the available firms at hand. The committee was happy with the number of applicants, and even more so with the quality of some of its options.

“It was quite a wide variety,” said Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade. “I was pleased to see that there was local involvement.”

The committee narrowed the group down to four finalists: ARC Architects, Calvin Jordan Associates, Inc., Lewis Architecture + Interior Design and LMN Architects. Though the four were not ranked, ARC Architects was a top choice selected by all four members of the committee.

Councilman and committee member Dale Rudolph said he felt the firm’s application was the “most responsive” of what was received, and its approach to quality control management was a plus.

The committee will interview the firms Dec. 12, and is scheduled to make its recommendation to the Poulsbo City Council that evening. The LRPC will look for examples of a firm’s capacity to perform the project, planned incorporation of public involvement, timeline abilities and use of already-conducted space studies during the interviews, a facet Councilman Ed Stern felt was important in a move of responsibility to taxpayers.

Councilwoman and committee member Connie Lord said the interviews should produce a wide array of ideas.

“I think it’s valuable to get the four perspectives in-depth,” she said.

The KCCHA, which is acting as the city’s project manager for the new city hall task, also conducted research on the firms, presenting information from references as strengths and weaknesses were discussed.

Tusberg said he was pleased with the way the meeting went, and the project should have no trouble reaching success if things continue to run the way they did Wednesday morning.

The potential city hall architects:

ARC Architects: The Seattle-based firm has focused on civic projects for 30 years, particularly city halls in small communities. It has completed city halls in both Ellensburg and Port Townsend, as well as a city hall and police department structure for Sammamish, and states in its letter to the city the need for public involvement throughout their hallmarked “transparent and meaningful” process.

Calvin Jordan Associates, Inc.: The Bellevue-based company has a 37-year history working with Washington state municipalities. It is currently working on city hall projects for the cities of Kittitas, Mill Creek and Sunnyside and has experience working with city staffs, councils and community groups.

Lewis Architecture + Interior Design: The Bellevue-based firm has completed facilities for Burlington, Kelso and Woodinville. In a letter to the city, the firm states that involving the public in shaping the building has been a routine part of its process, and it boasts a large number of repeat clients because of their strong attention to schedule and budgeting challenges.

LMN Architects: The Seattle-based company has an established working relationship with the KCCHA, and helped to prepare design guidelines and siting studies for the 3rd Avenue and Moe Street site. The firm has a strong history of working with public agencies, and recently received an award for its work on the Norm Dicks Government Center in Bremerton.

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