NORTH SALT LAKE Nothing looks wrong with the current North Salt Lake City Hall if you're driving by on U.S. 89.
It's a two-story building that sits on a triangle-shaped piece of land. The top story sits on the uphill side of a slope, while the bottom floor connects to the city's police department.
But this 26-year-old building has growing problems, and the City Council met Thursday to set up a steering committee to work on the design of a new building with architectural firm ASWN+, as well as learn about financing options.
Eventually, the council plans to hold public open houses to explain the rationale for a new building and to show off concept designs for it.
North Salt Lake Mayor Shanna Schaefermeyer said the current building has been employed to its potential.
The police station was built for seven police officers. Now there are 17, she said.
"There's no evidence room, no interrogation room and no training space," Schaefermeyer said.
Each police officer has one drawer for casework.
And the building, which is supposed to serve as the city's incident command center in an emergency, isn't seismically sound, meaning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency won't allow the city to use City Hall for incident management.
The building also meets few Americans with Disabilities Act regulations and has no elevator.
The council chambers, which seat about 50 people, overflow quickly to the lobby where listening to proceedings is nearly impossible if the city has a controversial public hearing.
Employees have done the best they can, Schaefermeyer said, and the city has converted closets and storage space into office space when necessary.
Faced with a growing city, officials have begun pursuing plans to construct a new building that can accommodate city office needs by the time the city reaches build-out, or its near maximum population of 20,000 residents.
Its current population is about 13,000.
"I think we need to build a new building. I do not think it's fiscally responsible to retrofit what we have," Schaefermeyer told the council.
At least three council members agreed completely with Schaefermeyer.
Council members Lisa Watts Baskin and Stan Porter stressed the immediate need for a new police station but said they're not against a new city building.
Police Chief Steve Harder joked that he was planning to grab his shovel to start excavating for a new police station after the meeting.
Schaefermeyer said the new building could be located on the same parcel as the current building, but closer to U.S. 89, and that the city could likely occupy the current building until a new one is built.
Eventually, a branch of the Davis County Library is expected to be built in North Salt Lake and could be located on the same parcel, which would help develop a sense of community, Schaefermeyer said.
North Salt Lake has no senior or educational programs, and a new city hall could provide a multipurpose meeting place to have city activities, she said.
The building steering committee expects to set up meetings with ASWN+, which has designed and built city halls in Clinton, Centerville, Layton, Draper and West Jordan.Along the way, they'll consult a needs analysis prepared by Dixon and Associates, which estimates future needs for each city department.