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Architects present plan for city hall

by: Illustration by Steele and Associates Architects - A conceptual model for a city hall/police station was presented to the Madras City Council Jan. 23.


   An expensive, but impressive proposal for a new city hall/police station was presented to the Madras City Council at a Jan. 22 work session.
   Councilors gathered around Scott Steele, president of Steele and Associates Architects, as he walked them around the exterior of the computer-generated image of a 20,000-square-foot building and accompanying plaza.
   The new two-story facility, which project manager Jeff Wellman estimated would cost $5.7 million, would be built of concrete masonry "for durability, low-maintenance, and for the timeless look," with a 1,400-square-foot council chamber to accommodate about 120 people.
   The Steele and Associates firm, which designed the Madras General Aviation Building, was selected in July to conduct a needs assessment and cost estimation, as well as design the facility.
   "They did a needs analysis and I really like what they came up with," said Melanie Widmer, council president. "Now it's just a matter of finding the funding."
   A combination city hall/police department will be built on a 5-acre parcel the city owns at Fourth and E streets, north of the Westside Elementary. The city traded 20 acres it owned in the Yarrow area to School District 509-J for the parcel.
   "It's very conceptual at this point," said Wellman, noting that the firm designed the facility on "our own nickel," and hopes to eventually design the building.
   North of the building, the pedestrian-friendly plaza includes a serpentine water feature. "It will have a terrazzo-type finish that will mimic the other two rivers that will merge, similar to the three rivers that merge at Lake Billy Chinook," he said.
   The plaza would incorporate the Thomas Tucker Memorial statue for fallen soldiers, as well as the existing memorial, which would be relocated next to the fallen soldier memorial.
   Before seeking the proposal, the city had looked at facilities recently built in Sisters, at a cost of $1.4 million, and Prineville, at $2.55 million -- less that half the size and price of the Steele and Associates plan.
   "The cost was more than we anticipated," said Widmer. "The next step is to see if we can come up with the resources to build what they say we need."
   The city made no commitment on the plan, but City Administrator Mike Morgan said that when the city decides on a plan, a combination of grants, loans, savings, and possibly property sales, will fund the project.