The city of Keokuk has spent weeks trying to find the right architectural firm to design its new City Hall. A group of city council members and department heads believes that search is now over.
The City Hall Committee reached a consensus to recommend the hiring of Horizon Architecture. The city council could consider a contract with the Iowa City-based firm as soon as September 5.
Horizon was one of three firms to meet with the committee last month. The others were PSBA of Quincy/Keokuk and BHMM Architects of Moline.
City Administrator Cole O’Donnell said he’s confident all three firms would have provided the city with a great design for the next City Hall. But O'Donnell said he was looking for more than just a great design.
“We are excited about the new venture, so we wanted somebody who seemed to be as equally excited,” said O’Donnell. “Somebody that really dove into the project before getting the project. Horizon did that, both in its printed presentation and also its presentation in-person.”
Each firm spent about 30 minutes with the committee, touting previous projects and then answering questions.
Michael Nolan with Horizon told the committee that while his firm is smaller than others, it is dedicated to meeting all of Keokuk’s needs.
“We are innovative, we are agile, and we are inquisitive,” said Nolan. “We have great communication among our team and we will have great communication with you.
“We want to transform the buildings into something that is going to knock people’s socks off.”
Keokuk is in the process of acquiring two buildings in the 500 block of Main Street from a local bank. O'Donnell said the bank plans to build a new facility in Keokuk by the end of 2020.
The two buildings would replace the former City Hall at 415 Blondeau Street, which was severely damaged in a fire in February. The city has hired a company to tear down what remains of the building.
O’Donnell said the city’s insurance provider will cover all design and engineering costs for the project. He said the city has $700,000 available up front to pay for the renovations to the two buildings, with another $800,000 available from the insurance company if needed.