doc martens heels City discusses new administration building
A city council workshop this week focused on the best use of the former Edmond Police facility at 23 E. First Street. The building has been vacant and used for storage since the department moved across the street to the new Public Safety Center in 2015.
At the city’s request, local architect Thomas Small was asked in 2013 to provide a preliminary feasibility study for building a new Edmond administration building to consolidate four offices currently existing in four separate buildings where people have to go for services.
Some administrative offices which were disbursed to non city owned rental properties during the construction of the Public Safety Center would return to the site.
Multipurpose technology would upgrade the city’s needs. County offices would move into one of the buildings the city leaves, said Casey Moore, city spokesman. As the plan moves forward the Downtown Community Center with a Department of Public Safety Office would be demolished.
Small’s updated feasibility study incorporates design elements specific to the City of Edmond for decades to come. Design perimeters are based on the Public Safety Center, he added.
He recommends a sustainable design with economical materials with systems that are energy efficient and ecology friendly.
“We see this as a 100 year building,” Small said.
Small said there is no height limitation to a building in downtown Edmond, according to city codes. An 83,000 square foot building standing five stories would cost about $283 per square foot or about $ 23.67 million for the building. This cost excludes about $1.5 million for fees, furniture and equipment for the earthquake resistant building.
A new structure would replace the existing structure that is not suitable for retrofitting a new design, Small said. The current building’s existing foundation could not support additional floors, Small explained. So the reuse of the building does not make economic sense when each department needs to be expanded by 20 percent.
Existing building space is made of three buildings that have been compiled into one, Small said. Eight thousand square feet would be set aside allowing for flexibility when departments need to be enlarged.
“We see this intersection as the town center for public services,” Small continued.
Former Mayor Randel Shadid said he objects to a new city council chambers being on the top floor of the building. Shadid cited safety concerns related to possible contentious meetings when the public might want to quickly leave the building for safety reasons.
Small said council visitors could get their exercise by a stairwell or ascend on two large, swift elevators.
“The people I represent, I kind of have a concern about having the city council chambers on the 5th floor of the building,” Shadid said. “When we’re trying to make our escape after there’s 200 people who don’t like us, it’s not a very good situation.”
Lamb said there is some risk of having the council chambers on the fifth floor.
“We have a civil discourse not always friendly but we maintain civility,” Lamb said, noting a police officer is always in the room. “You would not have that value all the way down the shaft.”
Small said it would be wise to have a second officer stationed in the downstairs lobby. He said it is possible to put cameras inside the elevators to record everything that happens.
“All of that would need to be studied in high detail,”
Lamb said there have been council meetings that were hostile, although it is not common.
“But it is a society that’s subject to change,” Lamb said.
Small also recommended the city become a landlord by offering public retail lease space. Additional expansion for city purposes could be made at some point within the 5,000 square foot retail space.
“What we like about that idea is that it puts those sorts of businesses right there on the street. It continues what’s going on the City of Edmond,” Small said.
Shadid also said downtown landlords and merchants need to be consulted because they shouldn’t be put into competition with local government by leasing out space for private enterprise.
A new council chambers would be 2.5 times greater in size that the existing chambers. Small recommends the chambers be a flexible multi purpose room with moveable walls available for public meeting spaces.
“What we would suggest is you need a little more than a year for full design of this building in order to go to bid with it,” Small said. “In terms of construction, it’s probably a two year project.”
Small’s plan calls for demolishing the Downtown Community Center (DCC) for multi level parking adjacent to the building with public and assigned parking.
The final report for a Performing Arts Center will be provided to the city council in February. One possible location has been identified to use part of the DCC site for part of the auditorium, said Kory Atcuson, city clerk.