West Fargo Building Committee Explores City’s Needs – InForum
WEST FARGO — A construction committee formed under the direction of the West Fargo City Commission held its first meeting to begin exploring whether the city will build a new city hall or police headquarters in the near future to meet the growth of city staff.
The committee is made up of Commissioners Brad Olson and Mandy George as well as Deputy City Administrator Dustin Scott, Deputy Police Chief Pete Nielsen, other city staff and consultants, including those of RLE, who studied the current city hall and police headquarters at 800 4th Ave. S
In July, RLE representatives told the city commission that the building first constructed in 1974 was in “fair condition”. While the building was first used as the West Fargo City Hall and Library, it has undergone a number of renovations and expansions, including the most recent upgrade to City Hall and the Hadquaters police in 2015.
A major concern has been the building’s ventilation system which some say is not working well.
“You can walk from one end of town to the other and you can feel the humidity and the temperature changing,” Commissioner Brad Olson said.
Kim Manuel, director of RLE Architects, said the staffing of City Hall will increase by 40% by 2032 and the police department will increase by 20%. City hall would need about 28% more space and the police department would need over 50% more space.
“That equates to about 30,000 square feet between the two departments,” Manuel said.
Mark Thiede, project manager for RLE Architects, said the city needed about 40% more space for more full-time employees and 20% more space for the police department.
Olson said the committee will need to estimate the city’s needs over the next 20 to 50 years.
“We basically concluded that this site, where we are today, wouldn’t hold up for 10 years, for the city and the police,” Olson said. “In 20 years, we’ve doubled in size. Certainly in 40 years, we could double again. All that northwest quadrant up there could house a city equal to Grand Forks,” Olson said.
RLE staff recommend separating the City Court from City Hall and said the court should likely stay with the police department, regardless of where it is located.
The consultants also looked at the location possibilities for new buildings. One option is to simply move the whole installation somewhere else.
Another alternative would be to move City Hall somewhere north, perhaps to the downtown district and move police headquarters south of Interstate 94. Or, the city could leave the police headquarters where it is and move the city hall elsewhere.
The city could also remodel the current building to meet the needs of the city. RLE presented a possible design that would move the municipal yard into its own space and expand the area for the yard. Neighboring spaces would be used for the municipal judge and clerks. In the design, the current commission rooms would be turned into lockers and police space and moved to another area.
Commissioner Mandy George said she was a strong supporter of placing a city hall and/or police headquarters near Sheyenne Street and Main Avenue near The Yards in downtown West Fargo.
The committee plans to meet again at 1 p.m. on Thursday, September 8, and will hold a series of meetings over the next few weeks in hopes of making a recommendation to the Municipal Commission before the end of the year.
“We’re still focusing on range here,” Scott said.
Readers can contact West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at [email protected] or 701-241-5530. Follow her on Twitter