LAURINBURG — The Laurinburg City Council may soon begin the process of selecting a construction firm to build a new City Hall and police station.
Council has met several times with Creech and Associates, the Charlotte architecture firm the city has hired to design a prospective City Hall and police station. Creech representatives will present a design draft during the city council’s regular meeting on Tuesday.
“Once that is finished we will need some direction from council on where do you want us to go from that point,” said Nichols. “It’s at that point in the design and construction phase that kind of overlaps to start the RFQ process for a construction firm.”
All proposals by architects so far have involved replacing both the current police station and the W. Charles Barrett Building next door with a single edifice. It could take the city several months to select a construction firm, at which point council can begin to get a handle on the building’s possible cost.
“You get the construction firm on with the design firm and those two guys start butting heads over the fixtures and costs, what they come up with is a guaranteed maximum amount: it won’t exceed that,” Nichols said. “To be able to see a solid number get into play, you have to start that process.”
Council agreed on Tuesday that it will hold a public opinion session before giving final approval to the project.
“Let’s make sure we know if we’re proceeding and if so, what we’re even proposing,” said council member Drew Williamson. “Right now it’s a preliminary step for them to say this is what we think you might be interested in. I do agree, I think we all do, that we would like public input at some point in this process.”
In other business Tuesday, community development director Teddy Warner told council that he and Nichols will meet with N.C. Department of Commerce representatives next week to explore funding possibilities for industrial development off of U.S. 74 behind the city’s public works department.
“There are about 200 to 300 acres and good part is already industrial, and we’re just exploring options for what we can do with it,” said Warner. “My main goal here is, if we walk away with a new friend in the Department of Commerce, we’ve accomplished something. If we walk away with $1 million for economic development, that’s a major win.”
Mayor Tommy Parker and council member Curtis Leak, who represent the city on the Scotland County Economic Development Corporation board, updated the city council on the EDC’s activities, including its search for a county development director. County Manager Kevin Patterson has carried out the economic developer’s function since August 2014.
“I think the feeling locally is we need a local person, because a few times we’ve been shunned by someone who was reluctant to move here,” said Parker. “If you get someone who lives here, they know what the territory’s like and they’re not as apt to use it as a stepping-stone.”
In other business, council scheduled a public input session on the 2017 budget for Feb. 11 at 6 p.m.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.