(Screenshot via City of Casper, YouTube)

CASPER, Wyo. — On Tuesday, the Casper City Council indicated its support for moving forward with completing redesigns for a City Hall renovation project.

Stateline No. 7 Architects, which was initially hired to conduct design work for the project in 2020, has presented an initial redesign proposal and will complete the redesign work if the City Council formally approves an amendment to the contract between the city and the firm.

The contract amendment with Stateline No. 7 in the amount of $183,821.85 would be paid out of $2.6 million the city has set aside for the eventual renovation of City Hall.

The redesign for the City Hall project will feature a more limited scope than what was initially slated to be a significant overhaul of the building. The initial project included an extension of the building. That and various other features will be stripped back in the new design in an effort to bring down the cost for the remodel.

The need to bring down costs came about after the city received five bids in spring 2022 for construction based on the earlier design that all came in at over $6 million. The estimated cost for the project was initially $4.5 million.

Because the bids all came in significantly over budget, the City Council decided to reject all those bids based on staff’s recommendation.

With the revised design, the city is tentatively expecting the renovation to cost about $4.6 million.

Vice Mayor Bruce Knell said during the work session that he has reservations about approving money for the redesign if the city does not know for certain where full funding for the renovation work will come from.

The $2.6 million set aside for the project will cover some portion of the remodel, and City Manager Carter Napier said more funding could become available should voters renew the optional one-cent sales tax this November. Additionally, the city has identified some possible grants that may help pay for the project.

Napier acknowledged that some uncertainty about fully funding the renovations remains, but said that the work proposed for City Hall needs to happen eventually to address issues with the aging building. If the city were unable to secure enough funding to pay for the project through a second round of bidding, he suggested the revised design could be implemented at some point.

“I don’t think it would be a lost cost, even if we had to wait for a third bid iteration, heaven forbid,” Napier said of paying for the redesign work.

Once the redesign is complete and if the city is able to secure enough funding for the project, the plan would be to put the project out for bid in spring 2023 with construction possibly to follow, Parks, Recreation & Public Facilities Director Zulima Lopez said. Whether that timeline can happen will depend on how successful the city is in identifying and securing money for the full cost of the renovation.

The City Council will need to formally approve the amendment to the contract with Stateline No. 7 for the redesign work during a regular meeting.

Further details about the revised project scope are available in the following staff memo: