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Municipal campus is taking shape

POULSBO — Another milestone has been reached as city officials move farther down the road to a new municipal campus.

And while it has hit a few potholes on its drive to find the offramp to an agreeable exterior, the project design has made considerable headway.

Schematics got the green light Wednesday night as Tom Bates and the team from BLRB Architects in Tacoma presented the most recent sketches of the $14.7 million project to city council.

“This design has been significantly influenced and evolved based on community input and community feedback,” Bates told the council.

The two open houses for the project have been well attended and many of the ideas offered have influenced the design as well, he said.

“The schematic design is done and that represents another milestone for the project,” he announced.

With the schematic design complete, the interior of the building is organized and its shape has been determined to fit the site, he said. However, the sketches presented Wednesday did not represent the final look of the structure.

The building has been designed not only to fit on the site, but to protect, preserve and enhance the existing wetlands and minimize the effect of the development on the environment, Bates said.

“All of the landscaping, we will be selecting and planting on the new city hall site will be native species that are drought-resistant,” he said, noting there will not be a permanent irrigation system on the site.

The main organizing element of the building is the two-story glass atrium, which will be divided into an east wing and a west wing.

“It is a grand space that invites the public into the building,” Bates said of the feature.

Since the project’s approval in November, Bates said he and his team have learned about Poulsbo’s past and have tried to incorporate that feeling into the building’s design.

“You are a city with a strong heritage and strong historic roots,” he said. “I think it needs to be reflective of your past as well as your future.”

To that end, the building will feature a mix of Scandinavian style double-gabled roofs as well as netshed roofs with the atrium serving as its unifying feature, Bates said.

Bainbridge Island architect Miles Yannick, who is serving as the local architect on the project, said traces of Poulsbo’s heritage are evident throughout the building’s design.

“If you squint your eyes and look carefully you can see all that,” Yannick said. “It’s quite a building. It’s an elegant building.”

After thanking current Mayor Kathryn Quade for allowing her to serve on the municipal campus planning committee, former Mayor Donna Jean Bruce said BLRB’s enthusiasm for the city and its municipal campus project has not waned in the least bit.

“They were the most enthusiastic firm when we interviewed them and they really have the city’s best interest at heart,” Bruce said.

Community member Muriel Williams, who also serves on the municipal campus planning committee, expressed her satisfaction with the project, which is practically in the center of the city.

“I urge you to move forward because I would like to see it completed while I’m still around,” Williams said.

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