Gateway Center planners announce details for Jan 19 community design charrette meeting
Two design options to be considered by community – one to include Selmer’s Building façade

ABERDEEN, Wash. — January 13, 2017 – Today, planners with the Gateway Center announced details for the final community design charrette meeting to be held January 19 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the Rotary Log Pavilion. The agenda for the meeting has been informed by the three previous community meetings and two online surveys and will provide an opportunity for community members to share their thoughts about two final design concepts for the proposed enterprise and visitor center, one of which will include the Selmer’s Building façade. 

“From the moment that this project went from idea to reality with the commission of a comprehensive feasibility study in February of last year, we have always known that its success would hinge upon county-wide community participation,” noted Mayor Erik Larson of Aberdeen. “The potential economic benefits of a focused enterprise center housed in a building that can be an inviting place for tourists to visit as they drive over the Wishkah River Bridge will only be improved with more voices contributing to its success.”

Following the feasibility study, a diverse group of local stakeholders committed to the project began looking at other similar projects across the region and hired the award-winning architecture firm Coates Design of Bainbridge Island to develop some initial concepts. The Coates team partnered with local architect, Bob Ford of Aberdeen, to review the site and program goals before launching a county-wide community-based design process that began at a November 3 design charrette meeting.

In preparation for the November 3 meeting, the Gateway Center team also built a website and social media presence to disseminate information, and invited community members interested in following the project to sign up for email updates. The website also included a video featuring a diverse assortment of local community and business leaders committed to the success and vision of the project.

Four design concepts inspired by local history were developed following the first community meeting and subsequent online survey. Those concepts reflected the opinions of more than 200 county residents who either attended the meeting or participated in the survey. They were then shared at a meeting on December 1, where attendees shared their opinions on various elements of each concept. Those same concepts were again shared via an online survey to gain as much community input as possible.

Soon after that meeting, some members of the community voiced a desire to learn more about what it might take to include the Selmer’s Building façade in the final design concepts. While the planning team had initially looked at an estimate for saving the building early in their research, those estimates pointed to a steep cost of approximately $1-$2 million, due in part to the poor construction quality of the original building and the prolific presence of hazardous materials such as asbestos. This cost was reviewed in context of significant community concern about financial stewardship and construction quality that was made clear at the first community meeting and subsequent survey.

To address new concerns about saving the façade, a new structural engineering study reviewing the use of the Selmer’s Building façade was launched in late December. Those results were shared at a third community meeting held January 5.

The results of that study showed that the demolition of the site, including management of hazardous materials, came in at $305,902. If the engineers were to salvage the most structurally sound wall of the façade, it would cost an additional $546,680. This cost does not include additional design and engineering time required to incorporate the façade into the final structure.

While community concerns around cost have ranked consistently as the most important consideration to date, new cost information from the recent structural engineering study provided an opportunity to revisit the inclusion of the façade. These reduced cost estimates along with additional concern from some members of the community to have an opportunity to review a design that included the façade has led the team to invest in securing an additional design concept from Coates Design that will be shared at the final community design charrette.

The two design concepts for the final meeting will include a more fully developed design of the concept that ranked highest from the four presented at the Dec 1 meeting and the other will incorporate the Selmer’s Building façade.

The final community design charrette will be held on January 19, from 5:30 – 7:30 at the Rotary Log Pavilion at 1401 Sargent Blvd, Aberdeen.

For those unable to attend the meeting, another survey will again be launched to gather the most possible countywide community input into the final design concepts. That input will be incorporated with previous community feedback and reviewed to identify a final design that can be used to begin securing important funding as well as recruit potential tenants for the building. Those results will be shared with the community in February.