SHADY COVE — The City Council is considering building a new meeting room to help alleviate an overcrowded City Hall.
The council authorized City Administrator Danise Brakeman to look into the possibility after deciding it couldn't buy a building large enough to accommodate city business.
"We would build it on the premises, between City Hall and the library," Brakeman said Thursday. "It could be large enough so we could have enough storage to get our public records over here and that would save us some money."
The city stores its official records in three locations — the city shop, leased at $900 a month, and two other units that rent for $60 a month.
To save costs, Brakeman said the new building would not be connected to City Hall and would not need restrooms if those in the current building were accessible.
"Basically we only need the room for meetings," she said, "so we would only need to heat or air-condition it as needed. That would also cut down on utility bills."
Brakeman said about a year ago she had received an informal construction quote of $75,000 from the city engineer, but added she thought that quote was probably "a little low."
Last month, the city had agreed to spend $150,000 to purchase an abandoned church and use it as an administrative center and council chamber. But when an inspection found potential problems with the HVAC system, and building codes required upgrades to the parking lot and internal structure that would cost at least $15,000, the city terminated its offer.
The 3,000-square-foot City Hall currently houses all city offices, a radio station and a Jackson County sheriff's substation. Within the last month, office space for the city planner and the administrative assistant was set up at the back of council chambers.
Councilman Bill Kyle wondered whether the city would have problems building on property that he thought was still owned by the Eagle Point School District.
"Actually the property is in our name," Brakeman said. "I talked to the school district. The agreement is that they gave us the property, and in the event we don't need it for municipal purposes anymore, that we would give it back, and I don't foresee that happening."
Councilman Leith Hayes said he supported the idea.
"Every time I try to find a remedy for our problems here," he said, "I keep coming back to this as the only remedy — to build onto this building. "… We are running out of room and I think this is what we probably need and I'm all for it."
The council unanimously agreed to have Brakeman consult with the city engineer about a design for the building and return with a report.
Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at email@example.com.