Schedule to build city hall adopted

Schedule to build city hall adopted
According to a schedule adopted by council members Feb. 2, demolition of the existing city hall is slated to begin by the end of this year. The new civic center complex could be ready for occupancy in April 2017. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek.

DEL MAR — With the master planning phase to replace city hall on target to wind up March 2, city officials are ready to begin the design stage.

And if all goes as planned, according to a schedule unanimously adopted by council members at the Feb. 2 meeting, a new civic center complex will be ready for occupancy in a little more than two years.

Residents have until Feb. 13 to complete Voice Your Choice, an online poll that asks community members to rank three options for development of a new city hall.

The results will be presented March 3 to council members, who will use the information to determine how to develop the site.

The design phase is set to begin in April, when an architectural team is expected to be selected. An ad hoc committee is reviewing proposals that were due Jan. 20. Following interviews with those deemed qualified, a recommendation will be made April 20.

Schematic design efforts will then begin. This phase includes refining the program and developing options for the site plans and schematic solutions, such as massing, functionality and general layout.

A community workshop is planned for May to discuss the design direction. Design development, which will refine materials and building details, is expected to take place between late July and mid-November.

A Sept. 28 workshop is planned to discuss the design direction and garner community input.

A community participation program meeting will be conducted Oct.12.

An initial review by the Design Review Board is scheduled for Aug. 26. The DRB hearing to issue a permit is slated for Jan. 27, 2016.

The process to secure land conservation, coastal development and tree removal permits will begin that month as well.

A required California Environmental Quality Act review is scheduled to take place from April 2015 through January 2016. This includes an environmental impact report.

The financing process should begin next month and run through January. From June through November plans will be made to set up city hall in a temporary facility during construction, with relocation slated for Thanksgiving weekend.

The process to select a contractor will take place in April 2016, with an award expected May 2. Demolition should start by the end of this year, with construction expected to begin in May 2016.

If everything stays on schedule, which isn’t likely given the size of the project, move-in day will be April 28, 2017.

Although council members approved the plans, they have concerns.

“When I look at this schedule the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘Who’s going to do what?’” Councilman Terry Sinnott said. “I don’t see (Planning Director) Kathy (Garcia) doing this. It’s too much.

“I don’t see (City Manager) Scott (Huth) doing this. It’s too much,” he added. “I’m just worried that you’ve got a city to run…. I’m starting to worry about how we’re going to implement this.”

Huth said at some point the city will have to hire a project manager.

“I feel very good about telling you we could use a project manager staff today because of all the workload that’s sitting on all our desks,” he said. “I would not turn down a project manager today.”

Councilman Dwight Worden said the schedule is aggressive and he wouldn’t be “all that shocked if that slips.”

“I’ve managed many public projects,” Garcia said. “The schedule is aggressive but it’s doable. I’d be concerned if we tried to shorten it right now because of the various unseen issues. … I believe that we could do it but it requires effort on everyone’s part.”

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