Rehoboth City Hall tower design draws skeptics

Latest cost estimate: $14.7 million
April 18, 2014
The latest schematic drawing of the proposed Rehoboth Beach City Hall drew skepticism from a city task force for the glass tower on the east side of the building to be used as an executive suite by the Rehoboth commissioners. While the city's architect plans to keep the suite, the tower will be redesigned. BY RYAN MAVITY

The design of a glass tower at the new Rehoboth Beach city hall attracted no fans among task force members working on schematic designs for the new building.

Commissioner Stan Mills nicknamed the tower “The Crystal.”

“It just doesn’t quite fit my vision of what Rehoboth looks like,” he said. “It’s just not Rehoboth.”

The city hall master plan task force decided not to finalize schematic designs after members objected to the tower, intended as a executive suite for the city commissioners.

The tower is intended to reflect the Cape Region’s World War II lookout towers and lighthouses, but task force member Wayne Neale said, as designed, the tower might be too modern.

At the April 7 task force meeting, architect Mike Wigley said the tower would give more prominence to the Rehoboth Avenue corner entrance. After the meeting, Wigley said the executive suite will remain, but he plans to explore design alternatives.

The task force agrees with the basic outlines of the plan: a two-story, brick building with a attic-like half-floor for use as a training area and future space for the police department. The police, 911 center and the administrative staff would have space on the first floor, while the commissioners’ room, police offices, building and licensing and Alderman’s Court would be on the second floor.

Parking at the facility will be reversed from the current configuration: the west lot will be used by police and city staff, while the east lot, next to the fire hall, would serve public access and the convention center. The lobby of the convention center will be reconfigured, but no other changes to the convention center are planned.

City Hall is expected to be demolished in two phases. First, administrative offices would be demolished and replaced by the new 911 center and police processing area. The second phase would see demolition of administrative offices and the commissioners’ room. This strategy means the 911 center moves only once.

City officials have implored Wigley and engineer EDiS Co. to keep the cost of the building at $15 million. The most recent presentation by Rob Belfiore and Rick DiSabatino of EDiS estimated the construction and administrative costs at $14.7 million. That cost factors in the sale of the current building and licensing facility at 306 Rehoboth Ave. for an estimated $2 million.

The task force decided to hold another meeting at 1:30 p.m., Monday, May 5, to to resolve design questions before moving forward with a final plan.



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