Puyallup’s five-story City Hall that overlooks the library and Pioneer Park downtown won’t become home to the city’s police department or municipal court.
There isn’t enough space, consultants told the City Council on Tuesday. They also said the building wasn’t designed for those public safety programs and adapting it to fit their needs would cost millions of dollars.
The seven-member council seemed convinced.
“I definitely think this report puts the nail in the coffin of moving the court or police to into this building,” Councilman John Palmer said during the study session.
Instead, several council members indicated they wanted to see a community task force formed to examine building a new public safety facility in the future. Council members also said they want to find other ways to fill up City Hall.
“We obviously have a lot of space that’s underutilized,” said Councilman Kent Boyle. “…We’re wasting a great degree of money if we don’t (find a use for it).”
The roughly 40,000-square-foot building opened in 2008 and cost about $38 million. Today, it holds several city departments, including finance, legal and the city manager’s office. About 60 people work there in all.
City Manager Ralph Dannenberg said he’s asked staff to shift around and free up at least one floor. Two public agencies have expressed interest in renting space, he said.
The idea of moving the police department or municipal court into the building has been around for months.
In February, the council asked Dannenberg for information on the feasibility. He hired the Seattle-based EHS Design to conduct an analysis.
EHS Design’s report, presented Tuesday, said City Hall was intended to be office space and would require extensive modifications in order to meet standards for public safety programs.
The cost to move either department would exceed $4 million, the consultants estimated. They also said there’s not enough room in the building for either program.
One scenario had the police department spread out across the first, third and fourth floors and even into a portion of the first-floor parking garage. There still wouldn’t be enough space for all the police needs, the report says.
Today, the police department is in a 44-year-old building at 311 W. Pioneer that also includes the city jail and a Central Pierce Fire and Rescue station.
The municipal court is in leased space at 929 E. Main. The lease is set to end next year.