The Rehoboth Beach commissioners unanimously approved spending $97,000 to pay for conceptual and schematic designs for a new City Hall complex.
Work will start with conceptual designs, showing where different city departments will fit within the building, architect Mike Wigley said. Once consensus is reached on a general concept, he will develop schematic designs showing floor plans and exterior walls for the proposed $15 million project.
In June, the city commissioners agreed on a concept for the project, with all major city departments – building and licensing, police and city administration – in one building.
Wigley said three conceptual designs will be submitted, each with cost estimates. These designs will be more refined to show more detail in how the building fits together, he said.
City officials hope to receive a layout of the floors and a better idea of how much the project will cost.
At the July 19 commissioners’ meeting, Commissioner Pat Coluzzi said with the schematic designs in hand, the city can request proposals and develop construction documents.
“I think this is the logical next step,” Commissioner Mark Hunker said. He said the schematic design would give city officials a better idea of the scope of the project.
Wigley said the designs will take six months at the earliest; Mayor Sam Cooper said that it was likely to take longer.
“It’s better to do it right and thoroughly than to do it too quickly,” he said. “There’s still quite a bit of work to do.”
Cooper said to finance the new building, the city would have to borrow money, which requires a public referendum.
Where the city would get the money has yet to be decided. Cooper has said before that the city’s main priority would be the ocean outfall project, for which the city expects to borrow $20 million from the state’s Clean Water Revolving Fund. Before they can apply for the loan, city officials need a long-awaited decision on the city’s environmental impact statement from Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, which was required to secure state funding.