A river runs through it; just don’t plan on getting wet.
A pitched roof, outside masonry, 44,000-square-feet of space and – yes – a virtual river all were met with approval as architects presented their proposal for a new Spokane Valley City Hall to City Council members on Tuesday night.
Representatives from Architects West presented two options that are anticipated to fall within the city’s $14.6 million budget for the structure, set for construction next year at the former University City site. While there were quibbles about the floor plan or whether it made more sense to have brick or wood for interior walls, the council members seemed more or less pleased with what they saw.
“It’s an impressive presentation,” said Council Member Ben Wick.
Should council members reach agreement on a final design, bids will go out in January 2016 with a contractor hired the following month. That way, construction will be set to begin in the spring and staffers can move into the new facility, to be located on the southeast corner of Dartmouth Road and Sprague Avenue, in early-to-mid 2017. The city’s current lease for administrative space at Redwood Plaza is set to expire at that time.
In May, a public meeting was held at CenterPlace where attendees said they wanted the new building to be efficient, traditional and functional. They also said they wanted the structure to incorporate facets of Spokane Valley’s agricultural history and – this was the big one – the Spokane River.
Creating a waterway through the structure was never seriously considered. However, architects looked at similar designs in other buildings and figured out a way to create a faux “river” via blue stones in a walkway that will “run” from outside City Hall, through the building’s first floor and out the other side of the facility.
The building will be three levels, plus a basement, and include offices for city staff and the council. The city’s permit center, human resources and central reception would be located on the first floor.
Mayor Dean Grafos, however, expressed concern that the city manager would not be more readily available to citizens, especially if there were concerns over building permits.
“Looking at the layout, I’m a little bit troubled,” he said. “I really believe the city manager’s office should be on the first floor.”
Grafos said he also preferred a flat-roof design that would allow for HVAC equipment to be located on the roof, but the majority of the council preferred the pitched-roof option.
“Whenever possible I liked a pitched roof so the snow can run off,” said Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard. “Generally, though, I like the concept.”
City staff members said they would incorporate council members’ suggestions and present a motion for consideration at the Sept. 22 meeting.