The Zephyrhills City Council has approved an agreement with an architectural firm based on plans for a new $6 million city hall.
Council members voted unanimously on July 11 to approve a $590,900 contract with the architecture firm Harvard Jolly, to help design the two-story building.
The city’s agreement with the St. Petersburg firm is based on a preliminary estimate of $6 million to construct the 16,000-square-foot building that would replace the existing City Hall at 5335 Eighth St. The new facility would be about 5,000 square feet larger than the current 11,000-square-foot building.
Under terms of the agreement, Harvard Jolly will oversee the design phase of the project, and also will be involved throughout the construction process — even after the city hires a construction manager.
The new facility is expected to take about two years to complete, which incorporates about nine months of design and 12 months of construction.
Over the next few months, the firm will work closely with the city to gather input on schematic designs and renderings for the facility.
“It’s an interactive process,” said Ward Friszoloeski, Harvard Jolly’s executive vice president.
Construction of the new structure likely will take place in the parking lot of the existing City Hall, following the approach used in the construction of the new Zephyrhills Public Library, 5347 Eighth St.
“If we do (build) it in the parking lot, then we won’t have to move or relocate, and we can just go from one building to the next,” said City Manager Steve Spina.
Councilman Charles Proctor also noted: “We could save a lot of money if we don’t have to move (operations) into another project.”
City officials previously identified several locations throughout the city to house a new City Hall, one of which is the soon-closing 20,000-square-foot SunTrust Bank branch on Gall Boulevard.
“Generally speaking, we think it could cost as much as a new building, plus the purchase of the property,” Spina said. “There is interest in it, but from a general purpose point, we would have to spend more time and money to look into it, and coordinate a decision. There’s a lot of unknowns in when it would be available, how much it’s for sale, and the actual condition of the building.”
The new City Hall is expected to have a modernized brick and stone exterior. The building’s interior is likely to feature more open workspaces and multifunctional meeting rooms, which can flexibly be used to accommodate public events.
One idea also pondered by council members was the housing of a retail coffee shop, such as a Starbucks, within the new City Hall.
“I like the idea of…making this building big enough for a coffee shop; just because other (city governments) aren’t doing it, what’s wrong with building a coffee shop?” Proctor said. “That could be the wave of the future and (create) some small revenue to cover some costs of City Hall.”
A new City Hall building will mark the second major project Harvard Jolly has designed for the city in recent years.
In 2013, Harvard Jolly was hired to help design the public library. The firm later faced scrutiny over the project’s escalating costs.
At the time, the firm presented the council with an 8,500-square-foot facility for $1.7 million, but overall costs ended up totaling $2.26 million, a 33 percent increase from what the council originally agreed upon.
To prevent a similar instance from occurring, the City Hall design agreement includes a clause that requires the firm to provide a maximum price for the project.
“I think we’re all in agreement that we do need a new City Hall,” said council vice president Alan Knight. “We just want to make sure we get our i’s dotted and our t’s crossed, and make sure this one is done extremely right.”
On April 1, Harvard Jolly was chosen as the top-rated firm to design the new City Hall building, based on responses to the city’s request for proposals.
“We felt like we set the tempo with the library…and with the proximity, you can start creating a good complex here,” Friszoloeski said, addressing the council.
Cost breakdown Harvard Jolly Architecture services
$451,500 for basic architectural/engineering services
$5,000 for program verification
$72,500 for civil engineering and permitting
$21,500 for landscape and irrigation design
$22,400 for interior design
$18,000 for furniture selection
Published July 20, 2016