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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018 2 years ago

Ocoee leaders choose designer for new City Hall

Wharton-Smith Inc Construction Group will help with design-build services for the new Ocoee City Hall.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

Ocoee commissioners have chosen a firm to help design the city’s new City Hall. 

This is the city hall design that Wharton-Smith, Inc. and HunterBrady Architects submitted as part of the Request for Proposal process for the new City Hall. This is not a final design for the building.

City leaders voted unanimously during the Oct. 16 commission meeting to select Wharton-Smith Inc. Construction Group for design-build services for the new Ocoee City Hall. Of the three design-build firms that submitted proposals, the city’s Evaluation Committee unanimously voted Wharton-Smith as the top-ranked firm for the project. Additionally, Wharton-Smith will partner with HuntonBrady Architects for the project.

Support Services Director Al Butler said Wharton-Smith and the two other firms were tasked with creating a design based on criteria authored by Zyscovich Architects, which also evaluated the proposals.  

“One of the things I want to emphasize here is that they were asked to design a product based on the design criteria package without being able to speak to anyone in the city,” Butler said. “We were looking for a company that would design a building based on what we had told them, so this isn’t the final design. I want to emphasize that now we start the design process once we negotiate a contract. So, there’s several more decision points that we’ll bring back to you.”

Butler emphasized commissioners were not selecting a design for the new city hall; only the firm that will design it.

“There’s several more decision points where we’ll be bringing this (project) back to you … to decide how and whether or not to move forward,” Butler said. 

“This building is going to make a statement — one way or another — about the city of Ocoee,” said Danny Gordon, of HunterBrady Architects. “It is going to be a legacy architectural statement. This is going to be a once-in-a-generation building, so as we go through the design process, it will be very important to us to be able to collaborate. … We really want to draw out of the city of Ocoee what it is that the city of Ocoee wants to look like.”

Gordon added the design and construction process would take about 17 months. The design and bidding process would take about five months, and construction would take about 12 months.

In terms of cost, Butler said the city has budgeted $12 million for the project as a whole — $10 million would go toward the cost of the building itself and $2 million would cover the cost of furnishings, security systems, technology needs and other associated expenses.

The design Wharton-Smith Inc. and HunterBrady Architects presented at the meeting would cost about $11.9 million.

“The proposal that we submitted was based on the (design criteria) program plus some enhancements that weren’t really in the program,” said John Lyons, of Wharton-Smith, adding that the design they submitted had more glass, and other features that added to the overall cost. “We’ve got some things in our (design) that we can take out without affecting any of the functionality, or really, the look of the building.”


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