How green does the new City Hall go? Sequim council discusses today
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The Sequim City Council will discuss options for replacing its current City Hall with a new $15 million building at a special session today at 5 p.m. in the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St. -- Photo by Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– In a city renowned for its sunshine, should the City Hall be powered by solar panels?

This type of question will be debated at a special meeting called by the City Council for this evening.

A topic for discussion is how much emphasis should be put on incorporating other forms of renewable energy into the design of the new City Hall.

The meeting will be in the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St., at 5 p.m.

“This is, I think, an important and worthwhile discussion,” said Sequim Mayor Ken Hays — an architect by day.

“Our real goal should be energy efficiency.

“We have to make sure real cost and energy savings will pay themselves off.”

Court Olson, a consultant with the Bellevue-based Optimum Building Consultants firm, which was contracted by the city earlier this year to manage construction, will lead the council discussion about green building measures.

City Manager Steve Burkett said the city expects to sell $12.5 million in bonds to help fund construction of the new City Hall and police station.

An additional $3 million has been set aside by the city to help pay for construction.

Later this summer, the city will ask firms to submit designs and construction schedules for the new building. By having the same firm design and build the facility, Hays said, the city hopes to keep costs down.

In preliminary discussions about building the council expressed desire to meld clean building technologies into construction, though not to the point that they disregard costs.

“It’s going to be a cost-benefit analysis,” Hays said.

“We definitely want to have a certain level of energy efficiency. But we have to be able to pay it back.”

As for capturing that trademark Sequim sun?

“Active solar collection is definitely getting more viable,” Hays said. “But maybe it’s something where, if it’s too expensive now, we design the building so it can be added later when it might be more affordable.”

Olson was scheduled to speak to the council about sustainability in design at last Tuesday’s meeting, but was bumped when the council session went long.

They scheduled tonight’s meeting to allow him time for his presentation.

Following an executive session last Tuesday, the council authorized Burkett to proceed with a purchase of a building at 171 W. Spruce St.

The council is slated to approve or deny the purchase tonight.

If approved, the lot, currently a home next to land already owned by the city for City Hall construction, will be used for parking and to allow design firms flexibility when they draw up the new City Hall plans.

Burkett estimated the purchase price would be $193,100 plus closing costs.

The property was assessed by Clallam County at a value of $183,497, but Burkett said assessed values now are based off the depressed sale prices from the past few years.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 02. 2013 6:17PM
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