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Woodinville City Council plans for the future

  • Written by Amanda Morton, Special to the Weekly
Tuesday’s Woodinville council meeting began with a review of the police department’s Crime and Traffic Report for January 2013, after which Councilmember Paulette Bauman expressed concern with the 42.6 percent crime increase when compared to January 2012.

“I know the report states that we have back-filled all the positions that needed to be filled, but we still have not filled the additional officer that we approved last fall,” said Bauman.

Richard Leahy, Woodinville city manager, confirmed the position is in the process of being filled. However, “it is not likely the additional officer will be out on the street until August or September,” he said.

Leahy further explained the waiting period for the additional officer has recently been prolonged due to the state’s reduction in available slots within the Law Enforcement Academy, as well as the extension of their training program.

“They can’t start moving bodies around until they have some who  are qualified,” Leahy said.

Later the conversation quickly transitioned from police personnel to the restoration of a historic building within Woodinville. Assistant to the City Manager Alexandra Sheeks introduced a proposal to the council regarding the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse.

The council voted to approve the proposed $98,607 contract for architectural and cost-estimating services.

The contract was then awarded to BLRB Architects.

“We need the services of an architect to estimate the size of a possible bond issue for the November ballet,” said Sheeks.

The Old Woodinville Schoolhouse resides on the city’s civic campus and is located at 13202 Northeast Street. While the school was originally built in 1909, it was renovated in 1936 and another wing was added to the brick building in 1949.

Currently the building remains unoccupied because of structural damage inflicted by the 2001 Nisqually earthquake. The city is seeking a restoration of the building for future use.

“I think it is a great opportunity to preserve something from our heritage and our community,” said Deputy Mayor Liz Aspen.

There were 10 applications summited for the project.  Interviews were conducted with the four finalists and then BLRB was selected. BLRB “has a lot of relevant experience with historic school buildings, with public and private renovations and with site planning,” she said.

BLRB Architects is based in Tacoma and was founded in 1953. The firm’s focused specialties include educational architecture, historic building assessment, documentation, preservation and restoration.

The contract with BLRB includes historical testing of materials, cost estimation and structural, mechanical, electrical and landscape review.

“We need to see what exactly is in the building so we know what we are working with and know what the cost is for rehabilitating those elements,” said Sheeks.

Aspen raised questions on how the building’s restoration plan would be designed due to the fact there is no current plan for the future usage of the schoolhouse building.

Gene Grulich, director of BLRB Architects’ Historic Preservation Studio, eased her concerns and said, “We do try to make the design fit precisely to the scope of the work given to us by our client, but we do have a process that we call adaptive reuse. Many historic buildings have to be adapted to a new use — sometimes for the reason that the old use has gone away, or that it wasn’t anticipating the new uses that you would need to have today. So we are going to look to the best way to make this building as flexible and as useable as it can be in the future, knowing that changes do take place.”

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