City negiotiating with design firm for community center
March 12, 2013
By Ari Cetron
Sammamish is likely to hire architectural firm Barker Rinker Seacat to design the new community center for about $2 million. The city will not be putting the contract out for bids.
The Denver-based firm is the same one that conducted the feasibility study for the community center, and which developed some of the initial proposals for what shape the center might take.
City Manager Ben Yazici said that when Sammamish was selecting a firm for the feasibility study, they had considered an initial pool of 14 applicants. After whittling that down to four and conducting interviews, Barker Rinker Seacat was the clear first choice.
“There was not even a close second,” Yazici said.
He said that while the council could go through a selection process again to find a firm to design the center, he thought the result would be the same.
“We still have the same belief that it is the best firm out there,” Yazici said.
Councilwoman Nancy Whitten was a bit concerned about the company. She noted that the initial proposal they developed was far more expensive than what Sammamish could afford. She acknowledged that part of the reason for the gold-plated proposal was that Sammamish didn’t give the firm a budget or other constraints.
She asked if Yazici believed the firm could keep the design with the budget.
Yazici said he thinks they can, and noted the firm will be checking in with the City Council several times throughout the process to ensure that the project is on target.
He said that the YMCA, which will operate the city-owned facility, would provide input into the design process.
The city has budgeted $25 million for the new community center, which will be constructed behind the library off 228th Avenue. The YMCA will contribute $5 million. City officials anticipate construction to begin in 2014.
The council approved allowing Yazici to finalize negotiations on the contract with Barker Rinker Seacat on a 5-1 vote at their March 5 meeting. Councilman John James was absent. Councilman John Curley, a longtime opponent of the community center project, voted against the contract.