“It’s a very tough decision between the two,” City Manager Patrick Draper said after a committee heard proposals from two architect firms.
The committee, which included members of the library guild, city department heads and three city council members, interviewed two architect firms, Williams Blackstock Architects of Birmingham and McKee & Associates Architecture and Interior Design of Montgomery.
Both architect firms have completed projects in Pell City.
Committee members said both firms are impressive, and Jason Goodgame, who is the project manager hired by the city to oversee various city projects, said he believes the city would be happy to work with either firm.
The city is moving forward with plans to construct a municipal pool and the renovation of the Pell City Civic Center.
The city also plans to buy the CenturyLink building and renovate space for a new public library, as well as other necessary renovation work to the facility.
In all, the city is expected to borrow $5 million dollars for various projects, and to pay back the city’s reserve for the $1 million purchase of all former Avondale Mills property.
Goodgame said there is not a significant difference in fees between the two architectural companies, less than 1 percent.
He suggested the city council hire one architect firm to oversee all upcoming city projects to help save money.
Williams Blackstock Architects designed and oversaw the construction of the new Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home in Pell City.
“We have a lot of pool and recreation experience,” said Joel Blackstock, the principal architect for Williams Blackstock Architects. “We have a lot of library experience.”
He told the committee that Williams Blackstock Architects will complete their projects on budget.
“We do what we promise,” Blackstock said.
He said the firm has completed a dozen public libraries across the state.
Blackstock said Emily Coe is the firm’s pool expert, and the company designed and oversaw the construction of the UAB Recreation Center, and more recently, the outdoor pool at the Shades Valley YMCA, which some city officials have toured.
“I like the pool design at Shades Valley,” Councilman Jay Jenkins said.
Company officials said they had a good feel for what Pell City was looking for, and the firm would designed all buildings and space to fit a master 20-year plan so that it provides the city with a long-term value.
Williams Blackstock Architect Sean Whitt said the CenturyLink building should work well for the city.
The city plans to use that building for the new public library.
Blackstock said the firm would provide the city with different optional schemes and solicit input from all stakeholders.
The council is expected to hire an architect firm to oversee city projects at its next regularly scheduled council meeting at 10 a.m. Jan. 13.