Northwest NEWS

March 26, 2001

Local News

Settling in at the new City Hall


Police Chief Ken Wardstrom settles in his new office with his Tyrannosaurus Rex collection. Friends know the Chief as "T. Rex."
Photo by Bronwyn Wilson.

by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   In brand new City Hall staff offices, computers flash on and phones peal out with a "business as usual" ring. The city is back to work after moving into the new building earlier this month.
   City desktops are lined with books; family photos smile from picture frames and each individual office expresses the personality of the city employee. A whimsical Tyrannosaurus Rex collection in all sizes and colors brightens Police Chief Wardstrom's desk.
   Senior Administrative Assistant Dawn Pickard has brought a homelike feel to her office with dried flower arrangements, live plants and a glass vase full of pink and white tulips.
   But there's still plenty left to do before the staff will feel completely settled in. Construction workers are still making repairs or adding final touches here and there, such as installing an ADA (American with Disabilities Act) approved access control switch or replacing a damaged counter. The whining buzz of drills and the banging thump of hammers are still heard throughout the freshly carpeted rooms. Stacks of boxes wait for unpacking and empty corners wait for furniture that hasn't arrived yet. City employees seem happy to adapt to the transition.
   Linda Fava, executive secretary says, "We're still in the process of identifying features we have and learning how to work them." Some of the new features include a key card entry system, plus automated window coverings and an elaborate audio-visual setup for video presentation in the Council Chamber.
   The work environment at the new 24,000 square foot City Hall brings plenty of amenities. The two-story building is roomy and open. Splashes of sunshine are everywhere, filling the rooms with natural light.
   Gone are the cramped, darkened quarters that some City employees worked in at the old brick schoolhouse. Potted green plants on staff desks thrive in their new well-lit home.
   Other amenities include slotted walls for easy posting of information and lockers and shower facilities for maintenance, parks and field staff. A separate shower facility is available for all city employees to use. Plenty of bench space provides rest for visitors. Comfortable chairs for the lobby are expected by the end of the month.
   "The lobby is a people place and the Council was investing in the people," said City Manager Pete Rose. "They wanted a lobby that seniors could come in and sit," he added. In keeping with the inviting ambience, the public restrooms on the first floor are large with inlaid fancy ceramic tile on the walls.
   The Information Center is currently empty until volunteers take over the operation. The public pay phones aren't in yet, but are on the way.
   Outside, the building is visually pleasing, set at an angle with two entrances. The exterior is covered in cedar shakes to give it a rustic presence. "We wanted to keep the Northwest woodland character," said Fava.
   "It's what Woodinville is all about."
   The Parks and Recreation Department is the only City division that hasn't moved. Though Parks Administration moved to the new building, the recreation department remains in the old Woodinville schoolhouse, now called the Community Center.
   For a self-tour of Woodinville's new City Hall, the building will open for public review from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 31.
   Informational displays from various departments will also be on hand in the self-guided tour.