News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Scio seeks input on City Hall upgrade

Efforts are under way to renovate Scio City Hall and the public is encouraged to provide input on a proposed design between now and the City Council’s regular meeting in February.

An initial design presentation was held during the council’s Oct. 9 meeting and architect Scott Beck explained what the floorplan and exterior could potentially look like.

Beck intended to gather input from city leaders, as well as community groups and individuals, and is scheduled to make a presentation to the council  Feb. 12, 2024.

The proposed design is currently on file at City Hall and residents are invited to review the plans, ask questions and provide feedback. City Hall is open Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, and Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon.

The current City Hall was built in 1966 and houses city administration, the library, the senior center and council chambers. It also housed the public works department until a new public works shed was completed over the summer.

The building is showing its age. In 2018, an insurance inspection revealed certain improvements were needed to keep coverage on the building, according to City Manager Ginger Allen. 

A later building inspection and seismic study also determined the building was deteriorating and renovations were needed to safely keep using the facility.

The council voted in February 2020 to move forward with building a new City Hall and a separate public works shop for an estimated cost of $3 million. Plans were interrupted in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic and increases in construction interest rates have made the original plan financially impractical. As an example, Allen said the recently completed public works shed cost $1.75 million, more than double the original estimate from 2020.

Allen said the council opted for renovations over replacement because this would be far less expensive, especially as local taxpayers are feeling financial strains from inflation and housing costs. She said a final estimate for renovation costs is still being developed and they expect to save taxpayers at least $1 million.

Renovations are expected to improve basic problems such as cracks in the walls and chronic leaks in the roof, which will also free up money in the city budget currently dedicated to ongoing repairs. They are also considering new uses of the space formerly used by public works, which is now entirely housed in the new shed.

There are also considerations for the building’s exterior and any aesthetic decisions the city would like to make. During the Oct. 9 meeting, Councilor Luke Zedwick said he would like to see City Hall match some of the historic buildings in town with facades resembling old train stations.

Beck said he would look into how such features may be incorporated into the design and is expected to share details with the council in February.

How to view proposed design

Residents wishing to view and comment on the proposed design can view the document at Scio City Hall, 38957 NW First Ave., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday or 8 a.m. to noon Friday.

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