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Officials seek new concept designs for facility beyond roof and siding projects

Aug. 26, 2014

Franklin — Some common council members believe it's time for City Hall to get a makeover.

The council discussed such a possibility, primarily related to roof and siding replacement, last week as it pondered the costs of doing everything all in one year instead of two, as initially planned. But city staff also offered one other alternative: to consult an architect to design new concepts for the building, located at 9229 W. Loomis Road.

The city had reserved $210,000 in its Capital Improvement Plan to replace half of the building's roof this fiscal year, with the intention of completing the other half in 2015. However, a multitude of siding material options, color options and aesthetic considerations have hindered this year's roof project.

At the council's Aug. 19 meeting, staff recommended moving construction to 2015, so that both sides of the roof could be replaced as one project.

But aldermen also liked staff's suggestion to consider City Hall's design beyond those maintenance concerns.

"I was actually here when this building opened … and it's been added onto, the colors have been changed, but (City Hall) hasn't really changed in all that time," said Alderman Dan Mayer. "If we have to replace the roof, let's replace it, but let's change the look of the building. We want to attract people to the city of Franklin."

"I'm in favor of keeping old historical things looking historical, but this building should be a modern, vibrant building," Mayer added. "I think it's time … to modernize it and have it as a showplace for Franklin."

"If we're going to do something, let's not just slap some siding on," Alderwoman Kristen Wilhelm said. "Let's do at least something with the main entrance."

In a 4-1 vote, the council approved to consult an architect for a maximum cost of $15,000. The architect will develop a limited selection of concepts for alternative entrance designs for the building.

Alderwoman Janet Evans voted against the motion.

"I'm fine with just replacing what we have right now," Evans said after the meeting. "I want to keep the building looking nice … but we have been talking so much about potential development and we're working with so many ideas right now, who knows what can happen with City Hall? Will it still be here in the future or will it be somewhere else? I just can't see going beyond the basics right now."

The consulting cost will be taken from funds reserved for the roof project. Mayer and Wilhelm will work with the architect to find designs that "enhance the overall character of City Hall," according to the motion.

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