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Could Carnegie become costly council space?

SNOHOMISH  — The City Council is mulling turning part of the Carnegie Building property into a new City Council Chambers and meeting room.
The concept was introduced at last week’s City Council meeting.
The idea is to demolish the 5,000 square foot 1968 annex built onto the Carnegie and create a 1,440 square foot city meeting room.
The Carnegie is at the corner of First Street and Cedar Avenue.
Council directed staff to proceed with refining concepts for the idea and looking into funding options for design and construction.
Building the Council Chambers would cost $640,000 in a preliminary estimate by the city. Demolishing the 1968 annex would cost an estimated $175,000.
On a project ideas list, the city provided a wide range of options that tally up to almost $2 million if all of the Carnegie projects went through.
There is no schedule for the project.
“It’s really, totally a conceptual stage,” public works director Steve Schuller told the Tribune. “All the concept is – does the City Council like the idea of another meeting room, the answer was yes, move forward with it. There is no schedule for now.”
Currently, the council meets at the Snohomish School District’s administration building at 15th Street and Avenue D. The district does not charge the city for using its boardroom, district spokeswoman Kristin Foley said.
The city wrote in an analysis that it is running out of space in the 945 square foot boardroom and running into more and more scheduling conflicts to use the boardroom for meetings.
The Carnegie building was constructed in 1910 and has major historical significance to the city, according to city officials. It was renovated through the years.
The city has owned the building most of its life and it was the Snohomish Library until 2003. 
The Snohomish Carnegie Foundation manages the historic building. The foundation’s long-range plan since its incorporation in 2005 was to remove the 1968 annex to restore the Carnegie to its original 1910 splendor, but funding has been short.
A city meeting room would be a separate building on the Carnegie property, according to preliminary plans produced by the ciy.
The city meeting room project has no specific price tag yet, but a cumulative total estimate for what could be built into the city meeting room ran up to $2 million.
“There’s no specific total costs at all, the costs we are showing is a buffet of options – we gave them a whole range of ideas with no specific concept of what the cost could be,” Schuller said. “We don’t know how we’re designing, so no plans – there’s no project that’s even been defined at all.”
Three people spoke out on Carnegie meeting space concept at last week’s council meeting.
Council critic Morgan Davis was not in favor of spending money for another Council meeting space.
Carnegie Foundation members Melody Clemans and Cathy Reines were in favor of the idea.


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