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Bray Architects Will Design New City Hall, Library, Fire Station

Both the company and city say they are excited to get going on creating three new civic buildings for Oak Creek. Construction is set to begin next year.

The level of excitement between Oak Creek and Bray Architects about the city's new library, city hall and fire station seems mutual.

For Bray Architects, it's getting to design "signature" buildings in the middle of a high-profile redevelopment project at the former Delphi property, near the corner of Drexel and Howell avenues.

A team of city officials who reviewed potential architects came away impressed with Bray's deep experience with public buildings and strong project and design teams. The group selected Bray out of five firms, calling the company a "natural fit" for the city's plans.

Bray Architects officially came on board Tuesday night with unanimous approval of the Oak Creek Common Council.

"What really excited us is that you want a signature building, and you want a building says, when you look at it, that this is what Oak Creek is about," Bray architect Steve Kuhnen said.

"How we get there, that's the challenge we have."

The council approved a contract worth about $1.2 million for architectural and other related services. It's part of a $19.5 million budget to construct and furnish a new city hall, library and fire station.

The city is paying for the buildings through its existing budget and public utility aid it gets from hosting the We Energies power plant, and won't require higher taxes, officials said.

"We think that there's some great efficiencies and some real cost advantages for the city building three buildings at once," City Administrator Gerald Peterson said.

Bray's fees were in the lower tier of proposals the city reviewed, Peterson said. He said he doesn't expect to spend all of the $1.2 million the council approved. Any savings would go into furnishing the buildings, he said.

Bray has designed the Greenfield police station, Mt. Pleasant Village Hall and numerous other municipal buildings and schools in Wisconsin.

The company will now spend the next several months working with the city on the design of its new facilities.

"There's a real level of excitement with the outcome" of Bray's selection, said Steve Chamberlin, the owner's representative for the construction projects.

The city hall and library are the first buildings planned for Drexel Town Square, a development project that aims to create a new downtown for Oak Creek at the corner of Drexel and Howell avenues.

The new fire station will be built at 255 E. Centennial Dr., just east of Howell Avenue across from the post office. The facility would replace Fire Station 1, 240 E. Puetz Road.

Officials are planning to break ground next year and open the buildings in 2014.

The potential for a "wow" factor for the facilities is there, Kuhnen said, though it has to be within the constraints of Oak Creek's budget.

"It can be a gift to the architect to say, 'This is the amount of money you have. Be as creative as you can.' Because it makes us really have to think," he said. "We're going to obviously take this very seriously and I think we can get a lot of 'wow.'

Resident of O.C. Paul October 19, 2012 at 01:41 PM
"The level of excitement between Oak Creek and Bray Architects about the city's new library, city hall and fire station seems mutual." As a resident and property tax payer of Oak Creek I am NOT excited about this deal. The entire project was rammed down the throats of the citizens of Oak Creek by our "elected" officials. There was/is nothing wrong with the current city hall that a bit of renovation and maintenance could not take care of. The project is a waste of taxpayer money at a time when the taxpayers are already strapped for money themselves, and the money that the city already gets from taxpayers could be better spent elsewhere in Oak Creek, on projects that would be less of an eyesore. So don't say Oak creek is excited about this because not all 100% of the residents are happy with this project, and less residents will be backing it, or will have thought that it was a good idea when their taxes go up because of it. Let the mayor, and alderpeople speak for themselves.
Patriot October 19, 2012 at 03:56 PM
@Paul- I SECOND THAT!!! I am amazed at the rhetoric spewed from our elected officials at a time when the entire nation is on the brink of bankruptcy. Yet city officials claim OC is excited to send more of their hard earned money to elected officials who deem it okay to RAM things down our throats behind closed doors!!! Totally irresponsible fiscal sanity for sure!!! This is more a matter of hey look what we did!!! A few wanting to leave their name on something at the already strapped or as BIDEN put it CRUSHED middle class citizens of OC!! Time to pack up and move out!!!
treeman October 19, 2012 at 10:27 PM
The sad thing is that the location for the new fire station on Centennial is in a very high quality woods. This will require the cutting down of many very nice trees. I'm not sure the people living next to these woods will be happy to see them all cut down and be replaced with a new fire station. If City Hall does indeed move, there is no reason the new fire station cannot be built at the existing location on Puetz.
kimberly October 20, 2012 at 06:35 PM
What's wrong with the existing fire station? The article said taxes won't be raised so that's good. I'm happy about the new library.
Mark Schaaf October 20, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Here's some more info on Fire Station 1 and the plan to build a new one on Centennial Drive: http://oakcreek.patch.com/articles/opening-bell-sounds-on-new-fire-station-discussion I wrote that story awhile ago (actually, it ran the day we launched), but very little has changed since that time. Interesting to note that Centennial Drive wasn't the first choice...Puetz Road was the fire department's preferred location, but the city got the land on Centennial for free so it was cheaper to build it there.
treeman October 21, 2012 at 01:30 PM
The city already owns the land where the current station is at and they do not need to cut down a very high quality woods to build it. The city already owns Miller Park. Why don't they build it there? That is about as logical as building it on Centennial. The city does not have that many high quality woods left and with Emerald Ash Borer in OC the last thing the city should be doing is cutting down even more trees. Also I have driven down Centennial at the "wrong" time of day. I can't help but wonder how much of a nightmare it will be to try to get the big fire truck through that intersection when traffic is all backed up in there. But that's OK. The city will have their big fancy fire station in the pretty little woods. Those woods should have been turned into a park so that everyone could enjoy them. Again, I have to wonder how many of the people who live just east of there know that they are going to be living next to a large fire station in the future.

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