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City Hall Renovation Would Increase Space, Create Easier Resident Access

Architects unveiled early plans for $5M to $6M city hall renovation at Tuesday's mayor and council meeting.

Architects believe an expansion and renovation of city hall can be complete by mid-2014, providing additional space for city employees and creating easier access to public services for College Park residents.

The $5 million to $6 million design would increase employee workspace by more than 1.7 times the current floor space. Each city department would be allotted more work area, and employees currently stationed at the Calvert Road Annex could move into city hall.

The preliminary design, crafted by Proffitt & Associates Architects, renovates current building space and incorporates a three-story addition. The public services and finance departments would flank an expanded lobby near the public entrance, making them easily reachable for visiting residents.

Although city hall was last renovated in 1996, the building no longer meets the needs of employees, city manager Joe Nagro said.

"We've added [employees] in almost every department," particularly in code enforcement, Nagro said. "We don't even have any place to put interns."

The new design would also include one large and multiple smaller conference rooms that could be used for employee and resident meetings.

The council chambers where the mayor and council meetings take place would remain largely unchanged, said Michael Proffitt, president of the company.

A green space would fill the southwest section of the current parking lot. The architects said this was needed to accommodate stormwater management requirements, but it would reduce the number of parking spaces in the lot. Parallel parking will continue to be provided on Lehigh Road and Yale Avenue, and additional drivers will be directed to park in the garage across Knox Road.

The architects said they hope to achieve a minimum of a silver-level LEED certification, possibly incorporating a vegetated roof and renewable energy options, though councilman Patrick Wojahn (Dist. 1) said he hopes they’ll consider aiming for gold.

The team is also striving to achieve a “strong dialogue” between the renovated city hall and nearby structures, project architect Kevin Kneer said. Concrete and brick will compose the exterior of the addition, according to a city staff memo, but specific details about the outward makeup have yet to be worked out.

Councilwoman Stephanie Stullich (Dist. 3) said she thinks it's important the renovated city hall fit in with the features of the adjacent historic district.

The purpose of Tuesday's meeting was simply to review the most up-to-date plans. City council and the Prince George's County Planning Board will take positions on a later version of the proposal.

City employees said funding for the project has not yet been determined.

“The financing is going to be an issue. We haven’t figured out that one, yet,” Nagro said.

Clay Gump February 22, 2012 at 08:40 PM
What happens when all those additional employees start roaming the neighborhoods looking for a party? How can route 1 accommodate the extra cars generated from this addition?
Barry February 23, 2012 at 12:49 AM
"We've added [employees] in almost every department," particularly in code enforcement, Nagro said. "We don't even have any place to put interns." Has the city increased in area or just population?
Fazlul Kabir February 23, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Just population. From 24,657 in 2000 to 30,413 in 2010. More: http://goo.gl/tojt6
Patrick Wojahn February 23, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Actually, both. The City has annexed areas north of the Beltway (Ikea and the Camden developent) and will soon be annexing some land just west of campus.
Fazlul Kabir February 23, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Thanks Patrick for pointing that out. I think the annexation happened in 2003 and wasn't quite recent. Btw, you can check the preliminary 3D schematics of the proposed City Hall expansion here: http://goo.gl/OUz75
Richard February 23, 2012 at 01:46 PM
If we annex ourselves to the Montgomery County line, could we switch counties?
Nick February 23, 2012 at 03:43 PM
"Councilwoman Stephanie Stullich (Dist. 3) said she thinks it's important the renovated city hall fit in with the features of the adjacent historic district." Yes, it should fit in with the giant modern parking garage across the road. Very historic.

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