Village starts negotiations with Creech and Associates
How much Wesley Chapel is willing to spend will determine what their town hall looks like. That was the message delivered from all three architectural firms that presented Mondya, Feb. 14, each vying for the contract to design and build the facility. In the end, the village council voted unanimously to start negotiations with Charlotte-based Creech and Associates, also a finalist for the contract to build the Waxhaw town hall.
Partner David Creech gave the board a tentative timeline for when Creech could deliver a proposal. Creating a design and assembling the construction documents could take between 90 to 120 days, Creech said, including public involvement. He just cautioned the board to have an idea in mind and stick with it.
“We’ve had projects where councils haven’t been able to make up their minds and the project just stretched and stalled out,” Creech said.
Once the construction documents are finished, he estimated it would take between six to eight months for the building to be finished.
Creech and Associates led off the three presentations. With a varied experience that includes building the NC Research Campus, the Hunterville town hall and Discovery Place Kids, Creech said the group was prepared to get started and develop something that encompassed the feel of Wesley Chapel. He cautioned several things however, mentioning that the town council’s decision to limit any building to a $1.25 million budget and 6,000 square feet would restrict what could be done.
“This is a small floorplan, that’s the reality,” Creech said, adding with the economy, the building would probably be lonely for a while.
The town hall will be placed in between the Village Commons shopping center and Aston Properties nearby residential development, as part of Wesley Chapel’s plan to further grow a downtown presence.
The other two firms echoed what Creech had to say, adding that a one story building won’t be enough.
“A simple one story (building) isn’t going to give us the prominence you’re going to want,” managing partner John Fuller from Fuller Architecture said.
The problem, Fuller said, is that a two story building can’t be done for the $1.25 million budget approved by the village council. He suggested doing a feasibility study, to make sure the project meets all the village’s needs.
“What you’re after is a built project, not a pretty picture on the wall,” Fuller said. Mocksville based Fuller Architecture worked with Forsyth Country Day School in the past, along with a number of churches near their office.
The final of the three groups, Charlotte based ADW Architects said the town hall needed to be larger and establish itself as a gathering place.
“It need to (be) built a little higher,” ADW partner Jim Powell said. “Also you need to create more public courtyard space, sort of that public square in front of the town hall.”
As part of their presentation, Powell suggested a two story building, using red brick and curved glass windows, split into two sections, with the council chambers on one side and departments such as planning and the town manager on the other. The firm has worked on multiple projects in the area, including the Central Piedmont Community College Cato Campus, the Waynesboro town hall and the Polk County Library.
Above all, Powell said, the design needed to reflect the town.
“It’s your project, it needs to look like what Wesley Chapel wants it to be,” Powell said. “The design must reflect the community.”
The board voted to open negotiations with Creech, with the idea that if a deal can’t be reached, then the village would start negotiating with ADW
“The work’s just starting, we’ve learned a lot,” Town Hall Building Committee chair Bill Meyer said. “A lot of folks had some good ideas.”
His fellow committee member, Butch Plyler, echoed the statement.
“I think any of those three could build us an excellent town hall,” Plyler said.