It will be at least a year before the City of Dearborn begins to transition into their new City Hall, but discussions about what officials would like to see have already begun.
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Mike Kirk of Neumann/Smith Architecture met with City Council and Mayor Jack O’Reilly on Tuesday to hear their thoughts on the design, layout and features of the new space. Possibilities include the elimination of private offices for the mayor and council members, creation of more private meeting rooms, plus a more versatile design for the city council chambers and much more use of technology.
The new City Hall will also likely include a “front desk” for all visitors.
“That way, everything occurs more conveniently for (guests) and … we’ll have a lot more security and confidentiality on the second floor,” O’Reilly explained. “If people come in for meetings, they would sign in with a receptionist.”
Councilman Bob Abraham suggested the elimination of private offices for council members, but argued that office space couldn’t be entirely left out.
“There’s very limited use by council members in the council offices,” he said, “but the office staff use them.”
The council chambers, O’Reilly proposed, would no longer have tiered, stationary seating. Instead, the room would be flat and seats could be rearranged, except for a stationary, raised platform where council members would sit during meetings.
Additionally, it was suggested that the meeting space could have multiple microphones and podiums for public comments.
Implementation of a computer system will play a large part in the new design, making much of the city’s sharing of documents paperless.
“Mike (Kirk) is going to develop a couple draft ideas and we’ll bring them back for you,” O’Reilly told the council. “This is our chance to get the flexibility and technology right for us.”
Neumann/Smith is also the lead architectural firm on Dearborn's Intermodal Passenger Rail Station, which is expected to be completed in 2013.
There was no discussion Tuesday of the cost of any construction at the new building, which is located off of Michigan Avenue just west of the Henry Ford Centennial Library.
Likewise, no date was set for when the preliminary plans will be presented to council.
Correction: This article originally stated that Mike Neumann was the architect present. That is incorrect.