Dewey Beach commissioners voted unanimously May 20 to select local firm George Miles and Buhr to design a new town hall and police department budgeted for under $6 million.
The decision was made after concept plans were presented to town officials by GMB, Settembrino Architects/Remington Vernick Engineers and Fisher Architecture.
Overall, commissioners said GMB stood out because of its local knowledge of county, fire and police regulations; its expertise on base flood elevation and freeboard requirements; and its focus on creating resilient municipal buildings.
GMB also proposed an underground parking garage, an idea commissioners said they liked but had not considered.
Settembrino had a great deal of experience in creating facilities in coastal New Jersey but not Delaware, officials said, and a second-floor wrap-around public walkway proposed by the firm created a security risk.
Commissioners liked the design presented by Fisher Architecture, but noted a lack of experience in creating local police and municipal facilities.
While concepts presented are not final, preliminary design calls for the police department to be housed on the first floor because more square footage is needed, with town hall administrative offices to be on the second floor.
Town Clerk Ashleigh Hudson said she had applied for two federal grants to help fund the new facility. She said it appears the town would not receive much, if any, funding from Sen. Tom Carper, but she expects some funding, in an amount not yet determined, from Sen. Chris Coons.
Hudson said she also applied for a state grant, which may provide $1 million in funding.
After the meeting, Town Manager Bill Zolper said town officials will meet with GMB Wednesday, June 1, to create a timeline and outline next steps for the project. Commissioners are scheduled to possibly vote at a special town meeting June 3 to add a self-committed assigned fund for a new town hall.
To view the presentations of all firms, go to bit.ly/38K4VTl.