Hill Country Village has committed to work with LPA Design Studio, which will lead designs and other services related to a City Hall replacement project.

What happened

City Council on Jan. 18 approved a $4 million construction cost estimate and LPA’s design proposal, which outlines how LPA will spearhead design development, handling of construction documents, bidding, and contract negotiation and administration toward the planned overhaul of the existing municipal complex.

Local officials said the new 9,850-square-foot facility, which will also house police and public works departments, will provide more space and flexibility for city operations and meetings. The project will also produce 1,850 square feet of covered parking space.

LPA Studio Director Sara Flowers said the total cost estimate includes civil, structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical and fire protection engineering, lighting, interior and architectural design, as well as demolition of the existing 44-year-old complex.

Flowers said the city was free to add services to LPA’s scope of work, including civil engineering, landscape architecture and irrigation design. 
She added the city would be responsible for surveying and doing a geotechnical study of the City Hall campus.

“We have to study the amount of water that cuts across Tower Drive onto our property and eventually to the pond,” Mayor Gabriel Durand-Hollis added.

Digging deeper

The city must also consider temporary relocation of administrative, police and public works personnel while construction of the new City Hall takes place, Flowers said.

According to Flowers, the entire proposal is based on a 7.2% fee of the estimated $4 million construction budget. LPA’s take could range from $288,000 to $349,060, depending on whether city officials decide to have LPA add other services to the contract.

An architect by trade, Durand-Hollis said the $4 million estimate and scope of work appeared appropriate given the type of City Hall replacement project that Hill Country Village is planning.

“From what I see, it’s in the range where we need to be,” he said.

But Durand-Hollis and council members agreed they should work together to try and shrink the currently envisioned scope of work to possibly lower the total project budget.

What's next?

City officials previously said a City Hall project costing about $4 million could be funded by redirecting unspent funds from the 2019 street bond, and using proceeds from the potential sale of an undeveloped city-owned, 14-acre tract at Bitters Road and Tower Drive.

Council must still formally approve putting the 14-acre, residentially zoned parcel back on the market.

Following a Jan. 18 executive session discussion on the voter-authorized land sale, council took no action on the matter. But local officials pledged to return to this issue soon.