Thursday evening, the Lubbock City Council met in a regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall.

The council by a 7-0 vote approved a contract with Perkins + Will of Dallas to conduct architectural and engineering services for the renovation of Citizens Tower (former Omni Building) into the new City Hall complex, the renovation of the current City Hall (1625 13th Street) into the new headquarters for the Lubbock Police Department and the construction of a new Public Works Facility.

Council members Latrelle Joy and Jim Gerlt lamented that the city would be working with a non-Lubbock firm for a major project. "I know we had several local firms who were involved in the (bid) process, I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t keep it here locally,” said Joy.

City staffers responded that Perkins + Will will be using Hugo Reed and Chambers Engineering as local consultants for the project. $4.9 million will be allocated for Perkins + Will to conduct the work.

Mayor Glen Robertson praised the bid process of having nine different firms comeback with renovation estimates for Citizens Tower and City Hall. “One of the things we got by going out to bid was a lot of eyes on that building (Citizens Tower), a lot of research,” Robertson said.

“We hadn’t discussed it much, but the firm is estimating the cost of complete renovation of Citizens Tower at just short of $49 million. Estimating at a little over $16 million to convert this building (City Hall) into P.D. $64 million for the two facilities is still cheaper than what we were estimating for just a P.D. facility just a year ago.

He continued, “I am going to get firmly behind this project. I think it’s going to provide us ample facilities for the next 50 years.”

Mayor Robertson did throw out one caveat while praising the project, “I would like to say the estimated cost of $16 million for LPD does not include the necessity of adding a very large property storage room, so that number will definitely increase. I don’t think we need to sugarcoat this.  But I think by the time we get through with everything…  we’re going to be in well under an $85 million mark for projects that I think is going to put this city in very good standing for the future.”

Concerning the concerns of Council members in using a non-Lubbock firm, Mayor Robertson said, “I understand the angst of a lot of council members over not having a local firm, but I think we will get tremendous services out of this.”

The timeline presented by city staffers is that the abatement process will start in mid-June. Nine to 15 months for the detailed designs for the three buildings, plus additional months added on for the construction bid process and finally another 12-15 months for construction.