Dave Huey, principal in charge, first addressed the group about the exterior materials. He was then followed by Fred Moyer, lead designer, who showed and explained the model of the building, and then Anne Kennett, interior designer, showed the council three different design schemes for the interior.
Huey said that this would be the last presentation before they went out for bids on the project. He said that they should be finished with the drawings by May 1, then there would be about two weeks of quality control checks before they actually went out for bids around May 15. He then said that anyone wishing to bid would have 21 days before the bids were opened and recommendations made.
If all goes according to plan, groundbreaking on the site could happen as early as July 1. Construction time is estimated to be 12 to 14 months.
Altus citizens voted in August 2008 on a sales tax to generate an estimated $34 million to remodel and upgrade Altus High School and add new classrooms, to build a combined new city hall, to provide a modern senior citizens activity center and to create new jobs and significant economic development (initially an industrial park east of Altus Air Force Base’s east runway). Tax revenues will be split 50/50 between city and school district projects. The tax item was called MAPS (Make Altus Progressive). MAPS will be funded by continuing a one-cent city sales tax (authorized in 1999 to provide revenue for the reverse-osmosis water treatment plant) and adding a three-quarter cent sales tax. The new sales tax went into affect in March of this year.
When addressing the exterior of the building, Huey said that the brick chosen will match that of the old train depot that sits on the south of the property. He also said that the outdoor lighting fixtures, although completely modern, have a historical feel and character to them that should compliment the train depot and any future remodeling that may be done to it. There will be clock tower at the entrance to the building with a glass-covered walkway.
The interior designer for the group, Anne Kennett, presented three different design schemes to the Council. All of the schemes were predominately neutral, but all had bolder accents. After polling the audience, the council decided on the scheme that had darker tiles with blue and gray carpeting and accents. Although there is color incorporated in the scheme, the overall pallet is neutral.
Some of the features of the new building were addressed by project manager Karl Tietz. He told the group that the Council Chambers would double as a municipal court area, and that there would projection screens at each end of the room so that both the council members and audience would have an equal quality of viewing when items were presented during meetings.
It was also noted that the offices they felt most people would be frequenting would be centrally located to make them easier to find. The utility and police offices would be located on the first floor on each side of the elevator. On the second floor near the elevator would be the offices such as City Clerk, and planning and community development.
The topic of furnishings was brought up by Councilman Don Johnson. City Administrator Mike Nettles said that they wanted to make the best use of the taxpayers' money, therefore they would use what current furnishings they could, and only buy what was necessary because of the new floor plans, etc.
"We need to steward this money as best possible. Get it built and see what we can do from there," Nettles said.
The issue of a storm shelter or safe room was also brought up, but Nettles said that the current plans do not include either. He did say that the City may be getting some stimulus money, but by the time they received it, plans and/or construction would already be underway. He said an alternative if the funds were made available, could be to purchase the lot next to the new building for one large underground shelter and use the top for additional parking and a park area.