Correction: An article in the Nov. 14, 2019 print edition of the Deerfield Independent said one of two sites the Deerfield Village Board is considering for a new Village Hall is an existing parking lot on the edge of Fireman's Park. In fact, the site being considered is a vacant home lot just west of that parking lot on West Nelson Street. 

In a split vote, the Deerfield Village Board has approved hiring an architect to design and site a possible new Village Hall on two different lots on the edge of Fireman’s Park.

However, after some discussion, the board also decided to concurrently reach out to the community to see if other sites exist where a new building could be constructed, or if existing space exists that could be remodeled for village offices.

The Nov. 11 vote to proceed with hiring Barrientos Design & Consulting of Milwaukee was 4-2, with Village President Greg Frutiger absent and David Wilkinson and Don Kositzke dissenting.

Village Board members Scott Tebon, Jerry McMullen, Arnold Evensen and Gary Wieczorek voted in favor of paying Barrientos Design & Consulting about $16,000 to design a new Village Hall and to show how it would sit on the sites, and to draw up an alternate plan that includes police station space.

Village Board members said while the Deerfield police station is expected to remain for now in its current spot on West Deerfield Street, including future police space in the architectural plans at the time that the Village Hall is designed ensures that it can easily be added if it’s needed as the village grows.

Barrientos expects to return in about six weeks with a site plan addressing elements like security, parking and sidewalks; a building cross-section; elevations; a roof plan, an "architectural floor plan" and “one rendering showing the general architectural character of the new Village Hall.” The contract approved on Nov. 11 by the village also directs Barrientos to "identify sustainable/green building approaches that can be readily incorporated into the building," and to develop a construction cost estimate. 

In a report presented to the Village Board on Sept.23, Norman Barrientos, Barrientos’ principal architect and president, and Barrientos project architect Douglas Forton estimated that constructing a brand-new village hall would cost $1.4 million to $1.75 million, not including extras like furniture, architect fees and buying a site.

Tebon said on Nov. 11 that rough estimates recently compiled by a municipal space needs subcommittee of the Village Board that has been meeting this year, put the cost of buying and remodeling an existing downtown building at about $1.4 million.

Board members on Nov. 11 said the two sites along Fireman’s Park that the subcommittee has been eyeing for new construction include on the site of a former home adjacent to an existing village parking lot on West Nelson Street, across from the Deerfield Public Library, and the site of an aged agriculture building on the western side of the park, along Grand Avenue.

In an effort to hear from community residents on other possibilities, the subcommittee has set a meeting, that’s open to the public, for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18 at the current Village Hall, 4 N. Main St. Village Board members said they would like to gather 8-10 additional ideas from the community in the next two weeks.

“To my knowledge we have not asked the community who’s got what and what it would cost. I don’t see any downside to getting more information,” Kositzke said.

In his Nov. 11 dissenting vote on the hiring Barrientos, Kositzke argued that the village should wait until a site is pinned down before paying the architect.

“You just don’t spend that amount of money on what ifs and maybes,” Kositzke said.

McMullen countered that the municipal space needs subcommittee has looked at nearly a dozen sites. McMullen said one of those other sites, Liberty Commons, doesn’t have enough available space to accommodate village needs, an assessment that Kositzke disputes.

The two sites currently on the table are also already owned by the village, eliminating the cost of buying property, Tebon said.

McMullen said the need for a new Village Hall has been discussed for more than two decades.

“I’m tired of it being kicked down the road,” he said.

Wieczorek said as sites are being evaluated, the Village Board must concurrently begin to discuss how the move to a new Village Hall, whether new construction or remodeled space, is going to be paid for. A referendum is one option, he said.

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