McHenry looks at shuffling space at its city hall

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 1:49 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 12:02 a.m. CDT

McHENRY – With plans in the works for a new aquatic center, the city of McHenry is starting to think about changes at its municipal center.

The McHenry City Council approved hiring Oak Brook-based FGM Architects for $18,850 to conduct a space needs study of the building.

Since the municipal center was built in 1991, the police department has grown and other administrative services have consolidated, according to council documents. Sergeants are working out of a “cramped office area,” the squad room fails to meet the needs of officers and the information technology office was expanded into a former supply storage space.

The proposed aquatic center could open some space up by moving the city’s parks and recreation department into the new building.

That’s why now is the time to start this process, to do the two projects “hand-in-hand,” Deputy City Administrator Bill Hobson said.

FGM Architects will provide the city with options on what it can do spacewise in the event the city moves ahead with the aquatic center or if it doesn’t, Hobson said.

It also will look at security and improving customer service, in particular addressing the fact that there is no front desk at the municipal center, City Administrator Derik Morefield said.

FGM Architects was picked for the project because the city has an existing relationship with the firm, Hobson said.

It was among the firms interviewed when the city was looking for an architecture firm for the aquatic center project, and it prepared drafts and floor plans for the original recreation center idea in 1997 and 2002.

The city was not required to go through the formal request for qualifications process because the proposal was for under $20,000. No other firms were contacted for price comparisons.

“We had an existing relationship with that firm,” Hobson said. “It’s someone we’re comfortable with. You look for an industry leader, and you feel comfortable in what they’re going to provide you.”

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