Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 9:30 PM on Wednesday, March 9, 2011

City Hall project taking shape

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

A computerized "fly through" suggesting the shape of things to come was offered to members of the City Hall Renovation and Expansion Task Force Monday afternoon during a meeting with the selected contractor and architect.

With a click of his computer keys, Bezek Durst Seiser architect Scott Worthington removed overhanging roofs, changed angles and made a small sheltered area disappear. Just as easily, he zoomed inside the building, tipping the floor this way and that, moved around corners, offered close-ups of windows and allowed task force members views of the possible layout of a 4,100-square-foot, two-story addition to city hall.

The meeting was an opportunity for Worthington, Todd Steiner of Steiner's North Star Construction and Homer Public Works Director Carey Meyer to get feedback from task force members as they move nearer the 10 percent completion of the design cost estimate and conceptual floor plan.

Emergency exits, waiting areas, window placement and adequate storage space were addressed. Giving north, south, east and west external views, Steiner drew the task force's attention to the building's appearance.

"The idea is to harmonize (the addition) with the existing building, but not necessarily copy what's here," said Steiner. "All of this is up for discussion. ... Right now we're trying to determine what you'd like to see."

The building has been Homer's city hall since 1986. It measures 9,145-square-feet and provides office space for 21 employees. Funding for the project is expected to come from $1.4 million remaining from a state grant appropriated for the City Hall/Town Square Project, as well as an additional $414,274 from the City Hall depreciation account. Price tag for the project is currently estimated at $1,870,490. Completion of the project is scheduled for October.

"What I really hoped would come out of this meeting is, 'oh my God, what you've done is perfect, charge ahead with the 35 percent design.' I think we're close," said Meyer.

The proposed drawings and floor plans viewed by the task force can be seen on the web at www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/citymanager/city-hall-renovation-expansion-task-force-4; click on CHRE Packet 03.07.11.

The next meeting of the City Hall Renovation and Expansion Task Force will be in the council chambers at 5 p.m. March 21.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.