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Ketchum ponders building a new city hall

Ketchum City Hall is in a former car dealership built in 1974. Photo courtesy of city of Ketchum.

Ketchum City Hall now occupies a former car dealership built in 1974. Photo courtesy of city of Ketchum.

The Ketchum City Council on Feb. 16 will decide whether to put a $23.1 million bond on the May ballot to build a new city hall as well as police department and fire department buildings.

The move follows a Jan. 25 presentation by Boise-based ZGA Architects, which proposed 57,000 square feet in separate buildings to replace the existing 15,304-square-foot municipal building that serves all three entities.

Ketchum has had its city hall, fire and police departments in a former car dealership since 1979. Cramped city hall offices are located on the second floor of a building with no elevator and are thus not accessible to all. The Ketchum mayor’s office is all of 165 square feet.

“It’s got to happen. We need to do something,” said Lisa Enourato, Ketchum’s communications coordinator. “This building cannot accommodate us. It has structural issues.”

Since the 1990s and specifically in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005, prior efforts to replace the 1974 car dealership building have come up short.

Click to view the "Ketchum Essential Services Facilities" report

Click to view the “Ketchum Essential Services Facilities” report

ZGA proposes a 39,096-square-foot city hall and police department on the city-owned property now filled with the existing city hall, an alley and a surface parking lot. A separate 18,284-foot fire department is recommended at another location in downtown Ketchum.

The proposal dedicates 300 square feet for a mayor’s office.

ZGA was brought on in June to undertake a study paid for by the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency. The study resulted in the proposal for the new city hall, fire and police facilities.

If a bond election is successful, the city intends to move quickly to issue a request for proposals to design the new city hall.

“We believe it will take about three years (to have a new city hall in place),” Enourato said.

A temporary city hall would be set up in the interim, potentially in the YMCA parking lot.

About Teya Vitu

Teya Vitu is an Idaho Business Review reporter, covering commercial real estate, construction, transportation and whatever else may intrigue him in the moment. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_TeyaVitu.