Atherton committee still can't agree on civic-center concept


Despite the fact that a consultant who has been charged with managing the costs for the project warned them that every month of delay may add $90,000 to its ultimate cost, Atherton's Civic Center Advisory Committee asked the architects to come back a fourth time with refinements, before they recommend a conceptual design for the new complex.

The advisory committee met on July 20 to make its third try at recommending a design concept for the civic center to the City Council. The council had planned to hold a special meeting in late July to consider the advisory committee's recommendation so the architects could start work on designing the buildings' room layouts and exteriors.

That didn't happen.

While committee members agreed on one of the three design options brought to them by the architects for the project, WRNS Studio; they asked for more refinements before they finalize a recommendation.

The advisory committee agreed to meet again on Monday, Aug. 31, to look at the architect's new schemes, which put council consideration off until September.

City Manager George Rodericks said that once the advisory committee has agreed on a design scheme, cones and markings will be placed around the site so council members can visualize where the buildings will be.

Many aspects of the design have received the committee's consensus. Committee members want a design with "classical elements." They want the town's historic council chambers to be part of the new library, which means funding for its renovation can come from funds set aside for the library. Advisory committee member Rose Hau said she had met with San Mateo County Library Deputy Director Tom Fortin and representatives of the Friends of Library, who agreed the old building should be part of the new library.

The advisory committee also agreed that the historic council chambers building would be the best location for the town's history archives and for a small cafe. Ms. Hau had said the Friends of the Library wants the history archives in the library, but they "do not feel like this is a good location for the cafe."

The advisory committee's favored design joins the police and administration buildings around a central courtyard opening toward the library. A new City Council meeting room is at the end of the administration building away from Fair Oaks Lane. The committee asked for some "tweaks" to the plan, including making the inner courtyard as large as possible, and possibly moving some police storage areas to another part of the site.

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