Architect selection begins for new Poulsbo city hall

POULSBO — With a shout out to all architects the city of Poulsbo is making another move toward the construction of its new quarters at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Moe Street.

The city released a Request for Qualification (RFQ) for an architect to tackle the new city hall design, which states, “The city is interested in expediting the project and will select an architectural firm to begin design immediately.”

Poulsbo plans to design and construct the building within the next 26 months, with all architect bids due Nov. 26 for a Nov. 30 final selection date. Mayor Kathryn Quade said this is just the beginning of a process she hopes can continue in focus and efficiency.

“We want to keep the focus on the project so that we can move it forward as quickly as possible,” she said, adding the city won’t take to shortcuts but will expedite appropriately. “I’m very excited that we’ll have very highly qualified people to choose from.”

The RFQ lays out the desire for a 30,000 square foot office building and council chamber with no less than 75 underground or underbuilding parking stalls and civic architecture of Scandinavian or Pacific Northwest character. Low-impact development techniques where feasible and within budget are also desired.

The selected firm must be able to complete design in accordance with a 2008 construction start date, as well as develop detailed cost estimates when necessary.

“We’re already receiving responses,” said city planning director Barry Berezowsky, who said close to a dozen calls have already come in. “Hopefully, the more people that respond to the RFQ, the better selection we’re going to have.”

Berezowsky said the city will review samples from each applicant in order to gain a sense to which type of architecture the firms lend themselves. Once a company has been chosen, specifics for the city hall structure will then be discussed.

“Certainly we want to keep it with a Northwest, Scandinavian flair,” Quade said, adding the building should also fit in and represent its civic purpose of housing offices for the city’s 50 employees. “It needs to be an icon. It needs to be a landmark.”

Berezowsky said the city’s Long Range Planning Committee, of which Quade is part, will make a recommendation to the council as to which firm to choose. After six years of effort and two prior land purchases, the council voted last week on three different issues that spurred the process forward, contracting with the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority to take over daily management of the $12.4 million task, agreeing to purchase one of two necessary land parcels at the 3rd Avenue and Moe Street site for $425,000 and setting for sale the Klingle Property — a 9.5-acre parcel of land at the end of 2nd Avenue once slated to be developed into Mitchusson Park.

The second 3rd Avenue and Moe Street land parcel will be purchased from the KCCHA by May 2008, bringing the land cost of the project to $1,625,000. Geological tests and massing studies have already proved the area’s ability to fit and support the structure. The city will also consider selling all or part of its 10th Avenue property — originally purchased in 2005 for $2.1 million and later abandoned after citizens voted to keep city hall downtown — as well as delay construction of a new police station as costs for the city hall project are further clarified.

Quade said after last week’s decisions she was glad for the progress, and looks forward to meeting the move-in goal of 2009.

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