BY REBECCA PALMER
BOUNTIFUL С City Council members looked to three public buildings on Aug. 9 as proof for what an architect would do for the new city hall building, to be completed by March of 2014.
In the end, they chose the hometown firm PGA&W Architects, Inc.
The Bountiful/Davis Arts Center represented the first example. Next was fire station No. 81 at 255 S. 100 West. The last example was the city police station on the existing civic center plaza.
Each of these buildings had been designed by one of the three bidding firms chosen as finalists. A total of 15 firms submitted bids.
Designers of the art center, VCBO Architecture, were by far the most professional firm in the final round. Their team gave a sleek, thorough presentation to the city council during a three-hour work session before the vote, but council members wondered aloud whether the city would get adequate attention from such a large firm.
Next, a crew of Bountiful natives from PGA&W showed a drawing of their ideas for the new city hall. Bill Gould and his team proposed splitting the building into two, with one serving mainly as a meeting room and council chambers and the other holding office space.
Council members hated the building proposed for their chambers, but raved about how dedicated the firm had been in building the fire station and spoke of how they had known the team for years.
“The building to the right looks like we brought in another church,” Mayor Joe Johnson said of the council’s building drawing, which showed a pitched roof and stained glass windows. “Suddenly we’ve lost what we’re doing here.”
Gould told the council that his plans were subject to change, and said several times that his was the hometown firm best suited to the project.
“We’re a small town firm, and that’s the kind of service you get,” he said.
Police station designers MHTN Architects presented their ideas with a hands-on approach, letting the city officials drive the creative process. They pulled out drawings and had decision-makers mark them up and discuss them, but they didn’t come with a mock-up design. This led Johnson to exclude them, he told the council. Johnson participated in the discussions but didn’t vote.
After a closed session and about 20 minutes of open discussion afterward, the council decided on the hometown firm PGA&W.
Councilmember Tom Tolman, who sits on the steering committee for the new building, was a major supporter of that firm.
“His attentiveness to that project on the fire station was impressive,” Tolman said, speaking of PGA&W project manager Bill Gould. “He was there a lot.”
Construction on the $4.8 million building is expected to start in January and be completed within 14 months. Then, the city arts center and museum will move into a renovated version of the existing city hall. The $2.4 million remodel will be funded by dollars garnered from the redevelopment project fund, and the new construction will be funded from the capital projects budget. The city plans not to go into debt for either.
A series of public input sessions will be part of the building process.