New building triples city offices

Architect Rick Zingre of Zingre and Associates shows members of Humboldt’s city council and the public the area in the basement of the former Emprise Bank Building where a new elevator will go. The council toured the building Monday evening before approving plans to remodel the space. From left are council members Jeremy Weilert, Otis Crawford, citizen Chris Flores, couniclman Jerry Griffith and City Administrator Larry Tucker.

HUMBOLDT — Humboldt’s city council met Monday evening to tour the former Emprise Bank building, purchased by the city for use as its city hall and police department.
The location will more than triple available square footage for the city, which currently occupies 5,000 square feet. The new space contains 16,000 square feet, said City Administrator Larry Tucker.
Rick Zingre, of Fort Scott’s Zingre and Associates Architects, led Monday night’s tour.
Zingre explained choices for elevator placement, walls and restrooms, all questions that came up during the tour.
A small, three-person, wheelchair accessible elevator will be built, leading both to the main floor, which will house the daily workings of city hall and the police department, and to the basement, which will contain a public meeting room. The elevator will be located at the southeast corner of the building where the sole grade-level entrance exists, Zingre said. A 30-foot rise to the main lobby necessitates the elevator for public access to that part of the building, Zingre noted. In addition, Zingre said, “joist spans and subsequent support” in other parts of the building would not accommodate the lift.
The basement will remain primarily unfinished space, with 4,000 feet for the city, an existing 2,000-foot multipurpose community room and 2,000 feet of secured space dedicated to the police department. The basement will also be opened as a storm shelter as needed, if the council has its way. Monarch Cement has offered the city use of its facility in case of an ice storm, Tucker noted.
“For 99.9 percent of tornadoes, (the basement) will serve you better than a wood-framed house ever would,” Zingre observed of the windowless, reinforced space. That use sparked discussion of the need for backup generators. Currently, police and public works departments each have one such generator.
Costs for additional generators were never considered, Zingre said.
“This job was presented to me as ‘What can we do for $100,000,’ first and foremost as city hall and the police department” Zingre said. “The base bid is to build an elevator and create office space for the city,” he said. The police department will also get a “secure point of entry” with the base bid remodel, Zingre noted.
Along with the expansive space, the city acquired numerous desks, office stations, chairs and the bank’s teller counter. All will be utilized by the city in their remodel, reducing costs of furnishing the new facility. Most carpeting will remain, too, Zingre said.

THE $160,000 base bid includes elevator, hall and American With Disabilities Act-compliant restrooms in the basement, plus city offices upstairs. The alternate bid, for an additional $90,000, adds a municipal court room and ADA restrooms upstairs.
Funding for the remodel will come from a $70,000 grant and $200,000 loan, both from the USDA Rural Development office in Iola.
“We’ve already gotten preliminary approval” for the funds, Tucker said.
The money can also be used to improve the heating and air conditioning system on the north half of the building, Tucker said.
“The system you have is original to the building” Zingre noted, and is “probably not efficient and not serviceable. Functionally, it’s a funky system anyway,” he said, noting it lacks individual area controls for different parts of the building.
Final architectural plans will be ready in about a week. Those plans, plus remodelling bids, must be submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture before final approval of the funds is made.
Zingre suggested the council open bidding for contractors using the base bid design, then add modifications as needed. The council ultimately agreed.
Council member Vada Aikins moved to accept the base bid. The motion passed 6-1, with Jeremy Weilert, Jerry Griffith, Don Walburn, Sean McReynolds, Otis Crawford and Aikins in favor and Dan Julich against. Sam Murrow was absent.
The deadline for bids will be the end of January. 
The city hopes to be in the building by April or May, Tucker said. Tucker added he is already fielding inquiries from those interested in using the current city hall building.