City hall redo?

Report views options of remodeling, rebuilding

Lake Oswego needs a new city hall and rebuilding it, estimated to cost $13.5 million if financed this year, is cheaper than remodeling.

That's the news from a report now in the hands of the Lake Oswego City Council. The report shows that a remodeled version of city hall would cost $3.8 million more than the same model, newly constructed.

The report shows a variety of estimates on projected costs, depending on size and an option to pull police and 911 out of the building. That option is unlikely to be used due to the cost and scarcity of new land.

Costs for the project range from $11.4 million for a same-sized facility, newly constructed, to $21 million for a larger building, remodeled.

Brant Williams, director of community center development for Lake Oswego and the city's lead on the project, said a new, $13.5 million facility - 20 percent larger and with police included - appeared to make the most sense.

There is no indication, however, that city officials will act soon on any of the options, though the cost estimates are good only through October.

'There's nothing that's imminent, meaning we need to deal with any of these things today or tomorrow,' Williams said.

He said the city council set a goal to evaluate infrastructure this year, including facilities, and city hall came up first because of a known mold problem in its interior walls. The problem is caused by water seepage through its siding and improper window flashings.

The mold has not affected indoor air quality, Williams said, and other problems are more long-term.

Those problems include the slow failing of the building's heating and cooling system, boiler and roof. The 39,000-square-foot building is also overcrowded and needs ADA upgrades and more bathrooms.

In additionto its other problems, the 1986 building needs seismic upgrades to keep emergency services functioning in an earthquake. City hall currently houses 170 employees, including the police department and 9-1-1 dispatch center.

'If we had an earthquake, it's essential that 9-1-1 and police could still perform their duties,' Williams said.

SERA Architects, the city's lead contractor on the project, found the most cost-effective way to cope with the building's deficiencies was to rebuild it, rather than remodel.

SERA's report found that keeping the building occupied during construction would add up to $1 million to the cost and take seven months longer to complete.

The cost estimates do not include temporary lodging for city offices or land acquisition, if needed. They do include soft costs like furniture.

The city council will ultimately decide whether to remodel or move the facility and begin plans for funding the project.

No date has been set for elected officials to meet publicly on the issue.