Shawnee hires Clark Enersen to design remodel plans for city hall

Shawnee has taken first steps toward remodeling city hall.

The city council in its Jan. 14 meeting agreed in a 7-0 vote to hire Clark Enersen for $279,000 to provide architectural services for the project. Councilmember Mike Kemmling was absent. There was no public comment or discussion from the council.

Shawnee City Hall at 11110 Johnson Drive was originally built in 1960-61. The building has had a few renovations through the years, including an expansion in 1988-89 to add the east and west wings .

Most of the building hasn’t been updated in years, including signage, service areas, furniture and finishings from the 1980s. The council chambers, however, were remodeled in 2015, and storage space in the basement was finished in 2017 for the city’s information technology department. Part of the west basement was recently remodeled for the community development department.

Functionality and city needs have evolved over the past 50 years, and a recent investment grade audit identified several areas in which the city can improve energy, performance and efficiency while reducing operational costs for city hall. The city plans to incorporate some of those improvements into the remodel.

Assistant City Manager Caitlin Gard reported in the city memo that many of the offices in city hall are “unnecessarily large and located in areas where other functionality of shared offices and conference spaces would be more appropriate.” The remodel is intended to improve efficiencies of the building and address directional and wayfinding concerns that are frequently complaints from residents, business owners, contractors and “even new employees,” Gard added.

“The physical location of employees has come to light as a potential barrier in ensuring this high level of service for our residents and businesses,” Gard wrote. “With a combination of these issues, staff believes it is time to consider a remodel to the areas within City Hall that have not already been renovated in order to increase its functionality.”

The council discussed the design for a remodel in May 2018, at which time they agreed on to allot funds for it as part of the 2019 budget. City staff had recommended Clark Enersen in part because of the company’s history of projects with Shawnee as well as its history of “successful remodeling projects” elsewhere, according to the city memo.

The city had budgeted $300,000 for architectural services.