Referendum Date: March 3, 2020
Expected Project Start: Fall 2020
Estimated Cost: ≈ $1,850,000
Carlisle city officials worked with Ethos Design Group in 2019 to develop a Facilities Master Plan covering potential renovations for City Hall, the Police Department, and the Library. This was in response to long-standing discussions between city council and city staff regarding the need to expand several cramped facilities and prepare the departments for future growth.
This portion of the plan would renovate the former Great Western Bank at 100 N. 1st Street into City Hall and includes complete internal renovation, new council chambers, parking improvements, an office for Parks & Rec, an office for elected officials, and expanded office space for building/economic development office.
On January 13, 2020, Carlisle City Council approved a resolution setting a bond referendum for the City Hall and Police Dept. projects on March 3, 2020.
City officials will be hosting several open houses to provide the public an opportunity to get more information and provide feedback on the projects.
- January 18 Open Houses – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at City Hall
- 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Old GWB
- January 25 Mayor’s Coffee – 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – City Hall/Police Department
- January 28 Open Houses – 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- February 29 Mayor’s Coffee – 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – Old GWB Building
Frequently Asked Questions About the City Hall Renovation Project
Facilities Master Plan? What is that and why would we need one?
Carlisle’s elected officials noted in the budget discussions in January of 2018 that there were several buildings that were being currently underutilized or would be underutilized in the near future. The most prominent of those was the vacant bank building downtown. The city had recently finalized purchase of that building and a finalized plan for use of the building was yet to be presented. Elected officials and staff brainstormed ways to best utilize it and other city-owned facilities that would address ongoing needs and growth in several departments.
During that discussion, staff visited other communities to gain insight into things that work well and do not work well in their buildings. These visits led to the idea of creating a facilities master plan that would address expansion for City Hall, Police Department, and the Library. The growth of these departments is something city officials have been discussing in one form or another for at least a decade.
The facilities master plan utilized a professional firm to come in and conduct a space needs analysis of the three departments. The results of that analysis was then used to answer a few questions:
- How much space does each department need for future growth?
- Can existing facilities be utilized to address those growth needs?
- If so, what renovations or additions to those facilities need done?
What were the results of the space needs analysis for City Hall?
City Hall had several areas noted for areas of growth:
- Better functioning customer service counter/lobby
- Addition of usable meeting spaces
- Flexible office space for parks and recreation as well as expansion of customer service personnel or the creation of a community development and building inspection department
After conducting the space needs analysis, Ethos concluded that a total area of 6,507 square feet was needed to address the growth. The vacant bank building has a ground floor footprint of 4,857 square feet. This means the bank building is 1,650 sq. ft. short for the growth needs on the ground floor. This does not factor in an additional 1,414 square feet upstairs. That brings the difference to 236 square feet. The upstairs portion was targeted for use for mechanical systems and records storage.
Have the current buildings been renovated before?
The current city hall/police department was built in the early 1990s and dedicated in about 1994. There have been no significant renovations to the City Hall portion of the facility since it was completed in 1994. The old bank building has received several renovations throughout its time in Carlisle. This poses some unique challenges in the renovation process.
What are we going to do about parking?
In developing the plan, parking for the buildings has been a topic of conversation as well. City Hall will be utilizing parking lots immediately near the building with some improvements to the lot west of the building being a part of the renovation project. City officials are aware of parking concerns across the city and are dedicated to working on resolving these complex issues.
What are the estimated costs for city hall?
Estimated construction costs include complete renovation of the building including redesigning the vault into a conference room, creation of a city council chambers, relocation of the restroom facilities, addition of an additional access, repaving of the adjacent parking lot, and complete replacement of the mechanical systems, amongst other items.
The construction costs for this come to an estimated $882,394. In all construction projects, either commercial or residential, it is wise to build in contingencies. Contingencies for design, construction, and general fees comes to an additional $308,838. Additionally, around $60,000 in inflation is being accounted for bringing the total cost of construction to around $1,250,792. This does not factor in soft costs though. These include items required for construction like site surveys, asbestos abatement, inspections, architectural design fees, signage, audio visual equipment, and furniture, to name a few. It also includes the cost to issue bond notes. The addition of all of these soft costs which would give us a turn-key building that is fully furnished for 3 departments. This raises the total amount of the upcoming referendum to around $1,850,000.
What is the price per square foot for the construction?
If we take the costs of the buildings and divide it out over the square feet of the building, we get the cost per square foot. Those breakdowns can be seen below along with some comparisons with other current new construction public building projects going on in the Metro.
|Est. Cost||Square Feet||Cost/Sq. Ft.|
|Carlisle City Hall (1 yr inflation)||$1,257,000||6,271||$200|
|Altoona Joint City Hall and Police Dept.||$35,000,000||87,700||$399|
|Clive Joint Police and Fire Station||$15,200,000||40,000||$380|
|Pleasant Hill Police Station||$12,000,000||28,000||$429|
|Warren County Justice Center (bids)||$36,900,000||73,000|
A few things to factor in include that each of the building numbers include construction contingencies as well as a number of years of inflation built in. This was done to provide a better estimate of the true costs of the project.
Will the construction of these renovations raise my taxes?
No. Carlisle city officials have done a good job of leveraging our debt service levy through bonding and cash management to keep the debt service levy stable at $4.50/$1,000 in valuation. Carlisle City Council has discussed bonding options for the buildings. Due to strong fiscal management practices and leveraging additional funding sources, city officials will be able to complete the following by 2027:
- Infrastructure improvements along Scotch Ridge Road – Estimated city share = $1,411,400
- Infrastructure improvements around the elementary and high school – Estimated at $1,998,000
- Includes 5th Street from Hwy 5 to School Street and School Street from 1st to 5th Street
- Avon Lake Watermain Improvements – Estimated city share = $1,150,000
- All three building projects
Even with all of these projects, the debt service levy is projected to remain stable at $4.50/$1,000 in valuation through fiscal year 2026-2027 (July 2026 – June 2027).
What is the proposed timeline for the City Hall portion of the project?
To help save some costs, some of the design and development of the City Hall and Police Department potions of the plan will be done in conjunction with one another.
|Approve Design Contract for City Hall/PD||March||2020|
|Design Development||March – June||2020|
|City Attorney Contract Review||June – July||2020|
|Construction Documents||June – August||2020|
|Bidding City Hall||August – September||2020|
|City Hall Construction Start||October||2020|
|Move Into City Hall||April – May||2021|
What happens to the building if the city does nothing?
There would be little change for the departments. With our growth in population, though it is limited at this time, Carlisle would simply fall further behind. City officials agree that this plan provides a good opportunity to resolve some long-standing concerns about past growth while also setting us up for growth for years to come.
There are several projects that the city would need to address in the near future regardless if something is done with the buildings or not. These include:
- Decide a use for the vacant bank building
- Address concerns with the roof at the bank building
- Replace mechanical systems in the old bank
How long will the building be able to handle City Hall?
The plan allows for current staff to have plenty of space for growth. Not only does it address City Hall’s growth, it also allows Parks and Recreation to maintain an office and provides space for a future community development and building inspection office. Taking into account the current space needs and the projected growth in population and departments, these are renovations that should serve us for decades to come. Ethos took time to study our population growth as well as where city officials see potential growth in the departments. Though we cannot make a guarantee that there will be no expansion needs for the next few decades, city officials are confident that these buildings can sufficiently handle our growth needs for many years to come.