City to host meeting on City Hall options

Ashland residents are invited to help set priorities for a potential new City Hall or re-build of the existing City Hall at a community meeting starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, in Pioneer Hall at 59 Winburn Way.

The city has been discussing the reconstruction or relocation of City Hall for more than 20 years. The building is seismically vulnerable, lacks meeting space and has no room for growth, according to a release issued by the city, which says it is the earthquake vulnerability of the building that presents the most pressing problem.

The interior of City Hall has been reconfigured a number of times since 1913 but has never had any structural improvements related to seismic mitigation.

A seismic evaluation of City Hall was conducted in 1994 and again earlier this year by Miller Engineering. The current City Hall is vulnerable to earthquake activity. City Hall will be designed to comply with current structural codes to safeguard staff and the public. The intent is to withstand a major earthquake long enough for people to get out of the building.

At the council’s Feb. 1 study session, staff provided the findings of the 2015 seismic evaluation of City Hall as part of a greater effort to conduct a comprehensive examination of options for replacing City Hall. The report identified seismic deficiencies in the structure, and described the upgrades necessary to bring City Hall into compliance with applicable seismic provisions in the Oregon Structural Specialty Code.

The presentation was supplemented by cost estimates of the seismic upgrades, as well as preliminary cost estimates for two new construction alternatives, either of which would be more economical than performing an upgrade on the existing structure. The cost estimates that emerged from the seismic evaluation led to the evaluation of replacement options.

The City contracted with ORW Architects to evaluate space needs and to study the feasibility of locating City Hall at three sites. ORW has completed its space needs analysis and is now inviting the community to identify its priorities for a new City Hall prior to reporting results of the feasibility study to the City Council.

This fall, the Ashland City Council is expected to consider moving forward with rebuilding City Hall or relocating and building a new City Hall.

Options are:

• Expansion of the Community Development Building on Winburn Way.

• Expansion at existing City Hall on the Plaza and minor reconfiguration of the Community Development Building on Winburn Way.

• New construction at the city parking lot at Lithia Way and North Pioneer Street.

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