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Ashland to host meeting on City Hall options

Local report

Ashland residents are invited to help set priorities for a new or renovated City Hall at a community meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, in Pioneer Hall, 59 Winburn Way.

The city has been discussing the reconstruction or relocation of City Hall for more than 20 years. The building is seismically vulnerable, lacks meeting space and has no room for growth, according to a release issued by the city, which says the building's earthquake vulnerability is the most pressing problem.

The interior of City Hall has been reconfigured a number of times since 1913 but has never had any earthquake improvements.

A seismic evaluation of City Hall was conducted in 1994 and again this year by Miller Engineering. The new City Hall will be designed to comply with current structural codes. The intent is to make sure it can withstand a major earthquake long enough for people to get out of the building.

At a Feb. 1 council study session, city staff provided the findings of the 2015 seismic evaluation of City Hall. The report identified seismic deficiencies and described upgrades necessary to bring the structure into compliance with the Oregon Structural Specialty Code.

The presentation included cost estimates of the seismic upgrades, as well as preliminary cost estimates for two new construction alternatives, either of which would be more economical than performing an upgrade on the existing structure.

The city contracted with ORW Architects to evaluate space needs and to study the feasibility of locating City Hall at three sites. ORW has completed its analysis and is now inviting the community to identify its priorities for a new City Hall prior to reporting results of the feasibility study to City Council.

Ashland City Council is expected to move forward with a new or renovated City Hall this fall.

Options are:

• Expansion of the Community Development Building on Winburn Way.

• Expansion at existing City Hall on the Plaza and minor reconfiguration of the Community Development Building on Winburn Way.

• New construction at the city parking lot at Lithia Way and North Pioneer Street.

For more information, see bit.ly/2cwR94n.