CAMANCHE — All the appropriate steps have been taken by the Camanche City Council to acquire a new building for city hall, but now comes the difficult part of remodeling and furnishing the space.
Several City Council and Council-elect members met Tuesday at the former pharmacy building in Camanche to go over the floor plan of the 2,400-square-foot facility.
Included in that floor plan is space for council chambers, two ADA-approved bathrooms, an additional meeting room, two offices and extra storage space.
However, after looking over the plans designed by Shive-Hattery architect Bruce Harding, Mayor Ken Fahlbeck had some concerns with the approximate size of the council chambers.
“With our council chamber that you have drawn up here, our current occupancy is 35 persons,” Fahlbeck said. “Is there any way to expand that for the new building to where we would have closer to 50? Because that was one of the concerns that I had for whenever we have a hot topic. We’ve always jammed people in here.”
In order to expand the council chambers to an occupancy closer to 50 people, the council decided that by removing one of the bathrooms and making the remaining bathroom unisex, they gain nearly 10 feet and approximately 15 additional chairs in the room.
“I think that’s a great idea,” Councilman Trevor Willis said. “It gives us an extra 10 foot.”
Also adjusted on the proposed design plans was the security aspect of the customer service desk at the front of the building.
Originally, the front desk utilized an open plan with an emergency exit door to the east side of the building, but to reduce the cost of an additional door, City Administrator Tom Roth suggested one security door and the possibility of safety glass to protect the customer service representative.
“We were talking about security and there was one discussion about whether or not we just have a service window and take care of customers through the window,” Roth said. “Good news about that is it gives you more security, bad news about it, it certainly infringes on customer service and atmosphere and we really don’t want to go that route.”
To settle the issue, Councilwoman Linda Kramer suggested a retractable steel screen that can be put down with the push of a button if there is ever an issue with security.
“That was something we did over at Kid’s First Academy,” Kramer said. “It’s a really good safety measure.”
As all parties agreed that a roll-down safety screen and the removal of one bathroom would act as the best design plan for the new city hall, the next step is to fine tune some of the schematics in the plan and put it out for bid.
“It’s just a matter of trying to minimize whatever costs you have to use, and trying to take advantage of what you’ve got there right now,” Harding said. “From there, it’s pretty much a takeoff of the front entrances and just a matter of working it from there and getting this to function like you folks want it to work for you.”