Del Rio: New City Hall Schematic Phase to Begin February
Feature Illustration: Concept site plan for the new City Hall in Del Rio. Courtesy: Brinkley Sargent Wiginton.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Del Rio (Val Verde County) — Schematic documents for the new City Hall may begin in February, if City Council gives the green light, the architect in charge said during a Jan. 12 presentation.
In February 2020, VBX reported a search was underway to select an architect. Since then, the firm of Brinkley Sargent Wiginton Architects was awarded the contract and in the following months a needs assessment study was conducted.
Municipal functions of the city are scattered across several buildings in the downtown area and all of them are at least 50 years old and too cramped for today’s needs. Combined, they have an area of about 24,300 square feet and the main City Hall building at 109 W. Broadway is about 21,000 square feet.
After consulting with the various departments, Denny Boles of Brinkley Sargent Wiginton determined that the staff needed 50,923 square feet. In addition, council wanted a building that reflected architecture typical of Del Rio–Art Deco and clay tile roofing.
However, the price tag of more than $27.4 million was too high. From July 16 to Nov. 18, Boles reduced the square footage four times, getting the price down to $17.7 million, and the building area to 32,141 square feet.
Changes made to get to $17.7 million included removing the incorporation of Municipal Court into the design; reducing office sizes, work stations and removing training areas and a conference room.
Cut it to $12 Million:
City Council said the cost of construction needed to be $12 million. To accomplish this, Boles said the architectural style requested would have to be scrapped. Tilt-wall would have to be used and he presented examples of tilt-wall public buildings the company has done in other cities.
Tilt-wall public buildings by Brinkley Sargent Wiginton.
The preliminary budget summary, as presented Jan. 12:
Testing Services: $101,000
City Budgets: $283,000
Professional Services: $1,163,000
Total Cost: $13,641,000
Boles estimated that schematic designs could be completed by the end of April. He said design development and construction documents could be completed by early 4th Quarter 2021 and bidding could begin in November.
Boles also estimated construction could begin by February 2022 and the building would be substantially complete by August 2023.
The city finance director told City Council it could be possible to execute a loan for about $14 million in January 2022 without raising the tax rate.
The new building would be constructed next to the existing City Hall and staff would continue to work in the old City Hall during construction. An annex building is within the project site, however, and would have to be demolished.
The current conditions on the city property where the new City Hall complex must be built. Image: Google Maps.
The new city hall will have a step-up height, with the new council chambers being a triangular one-story structure and the rest of the building at two stories. The footprint configuration was designed to avoid cutting down heritage trees on site that the citizens wanted spared.
Tuesday’s presentation was for informational purposes only and no action was taken. Boles discussed possible delivery methods (competitive sealed bid, CMAR, design-build, etc.). The city manager will get back to council in the next few weeks with next step options.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.