'Tough call': Public sees two design ideas for new Sequim City Hall
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Two competing designs for the new Sequim City Hall and police headquarters: The Integrus Architecture and Lydig Construction design, left, and the Muller Hull Partnership and BNBuilders design.

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– In one corner was a gray concrete-and-glass structure.

In the other, a wood, metal and brick building inspired by Sequim prairie bunch grasses.

Citizens who reviewed design proposals for Sequim's proposed $15 million City Hall and police station favored the brown barnlike design of Integrus Architecture and Lydig Construction over the more modern, concrete design from architect Miller Hull Partnership and BNBuilders by a 16-8 count after both designs were unveiled in the Sequim Transit Center on Tuesday night.

“It's a tough call. I scored them twice and had one come out on top the first time and the other on top the second,” Mayor Ken Hays said.

“But I haven't factored in an emotional reaction to either one yet.”

Those who liked the Integrus/Lydig design for the 30,000-square-foot municipal headquarters said it better fit the city's character.

Many said they liked the design's open space fronting Sequim Avenue.

The BNBuilders/Miller Hull advocates said they liked that team's design because of its efficiency.

One person said the city doesn't need the building.

Citizens said both designs looked “dated.”

Most of those interviewed by the Peninsula Daily News favored the Lydig/Integrus building, as well.

“I think it looks more like the barns we have out in the valley. It feels more like our old community,” Melissa Soares said.

“I know we can't keep the old forever, but I like the old.”

Les Jones of Dungeness agreed.

“That one just seems to fit the town better,” Jones said of the Lydig/Integrus design.

Eleven-year-old Davis Kanters, whose family lives next door to the City Hall site, was indifferent but interested in both designs.

“They're both OK. I just want a fountain,” Davis said.

A special City Hall design committee heard the proposals Tuesday afternoon from the two teams competing to design and build the venue that will be constructed on the west 100 block of Cedar Street — from the site of the current City Hall east to Sequim Avenue.

A committee of Hays, Councilwoman Laura Dubois, Councilman Erik Erichsen, City Manager Steve Burkett, Police Chief Bill Dickinson and Public Works Director Paul Haines met to go over their opinions and scoring of both proposals Wednesday morning.

Burkett will take that recommendation to the City Council for a possible decision Monday.

The city decided to allow teams of architects and builders to present the best design they could come up with for a total construction cost of $11.8 million.

The rest of the $15 million total project tag was used to purchase land and for other preliminary costs.

A third team, Hoffman Construction and Belay Architecture, was invited to bid but withdrew its proposal after deciding it could not come up with a design that would fit the city's spending cap.

The new building will house government and police operations in one spot. Currently, government offices are spread throughout the city.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2014 and be completed in 2015.

Both designs pitched Tuesday were two-story buildings that had police operations taking up most of the first floor and other government offices placed upstairs.

Council chambers in the Lydig/Integrus design would be on the east side of the building, facing a plaza area that would front Sequim Avenue.

In the BNBuilders/Miller Hull proposal, the council's chambers would be near the current City Hall with windows looking out onto Cedar Street.

Large windows were main components of each design's entryway.

Police cars would be parked on the west end of the building, an area currently used for transit center parking.

The Lydig/Integrus proposal was inspired by the grasses of the prairie, said Larry Hurlbert, an architect with the Integrus firm of Seattle.

“We wanted to reflect the area in our design. And those browns and grays from the grasses were an attractive piece of the community,” Hurlbert said.

The rustic building with a pitched roof on the second story would be made primarily of brown-toned bricks, with metal trim running around an overhang over plaza areas and wood slats beneath those overhangs.

Hurlbert said the plaza area extending eastward toward Sequim Avenue was designed to be a community gathering place, adding that the city's summer farmers market could be moved there from its current Cedar Street home.

Miller Hull and BNBuilders went with a more modern, blocky building.

Ruth Baleiko with Miller Hull said architects decided to take the concrete required by police as a defense for their portion of the building against ballistics and automobiles, and apply it to the whole building.

“That gives it all a bit more holistic look, so the defense portions don't stand out so much,” Baleiko said.

Baleiko also said the concrete exterior would have a long lifespan that would require little maintenance.

Earlier this year, the city sold $10.439 million in bonds to fund the project, which will be repaid annually at $660,000 for the next 30 years.

The city hopes to repay some of that with the $200,000 made available annually by eliminating rent on offices and the police station currently at the Sequim Village Shopping Center, 609 W. Washington St.

They also plan to use a portion of the criminal justice sales tax implemented last year.

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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: December 05. 2013 7:54AM
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