LAURINBURG — Members of the Laurinburg City Council came to a quick consensus on Wednesday night over their choice of the three City Hall design drafts offered by architecture firm Creech and Associates.
All three options were designed to conform to the historic character of existing Church Street homes and buildings. Council members were encouraged to select their preferred features from each design and have city staff to report back to designers.
But council chose one of the designs as presented.
“I think they’re all very attractive and I wouldn’t have my feelings hurt no matter what we do,” said council member Drew Williamson. “I wish we had a nice-looking courthouse and we don’t, sorry, I’ve seen a bunch of them. B and C have more of a courthouse appeal, which is really handsome with the columns. A to me looks less like a courthouse building and more like a city hall.”
Council members Dee Hammond, J.D. Willis, and Curtis Leak also preferred the same design, but expressed concern that the roof appears flat and would be prone to leakage.
“The other two, I don’t like these cupolas,” said Hammond. “These look like Taj Mahal stuff — it’s just too grand for us. I think this is a more simple, elegant city hall.”
Mayor Matthew Block did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.
The city council also discussed whether the roof of the ground floor, which in all options extends to be longer than the second floor, should be serviceable as an outdoor patio or base for future second floor expansion.
In discussions of the interior so far, the 25,000-square-foot building will house the Laurinburg Police Department and a utility customer service area on the ground floor. The city council chamber and all other city departments will be on the second floor.
“If we weren’t trying to make it a dual city hall and police station, you’d have the option of upstairs or downstairs, but the police department needs to be downstairs because they need to be in and out quick and they all need to be together,” said City Manager Charles Nichols.
The exact configuration of the building’s interior has yet to be hammered out with the city’s department heads.
“(Creech) just took the space needs study done by Oakley Collier, verified it with everybody, and just threw the offices in to see how big the building needed to be width- and length-wise,” said Nichols.
Council also discussed the building’s parking lot, which has been designed to manage utility customers driving up to pay their bills and keep congestion away from Church Street on due dates. The current parking lot design incorporates a secure lot for police vehicles, which Hammond suggested be placed elsewhere for greater privacy and to allow more space for general parking.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.