REDMOND, OR -- Plans to re-purpose Redmond’s former Evergreen Elementary School are moving forward. Earlier this week, City Councilors approved a contract for Skanska to begin renovating the building into Redmond's next City Hall. City Manager Keith Witcosky tells KBND News that after nearly a hundred years as a school, crews have their work cut out for them. "It’s everything from the systems – mechanical, Hvac, those kinds of things – We’re gonna have to look at technology improvements. Since this is an historic building we’ll have to look at what’s gonna stay and figure out what has to be modernized," he said. "What you want to do when you look at historic buildings and look at city halls, is create really good public space, and do it in a way that reflects the history of the building but makes it very usable."
Mayor George Endicott says it's important to preserve the building's history while making it usable. "A huge issue with that building, one of the reasons the school district could no longer use it, was the seismic risk. We have plans on how to correct that as well, to make it a seismically stable building." He says the city hopes many historic architectural features will be incorporated into the renovations.
Witcosky says the 35,000 sf building is more than large enough for City Hall. "We’re gonna have other space that we can look at, whether it’s public tenants or private tenants, or community center type space. And we do want to figure out too, when the project is done in a couple years, how do we connect that with Centennial Park? There could be opportunities for the property in between where we can acquire that and turn it into a public plaza, and create that flow of pedestrians from downtown, west toward city hall and back."
The city still needs to appoint a design firm. Construction could begin by next October.