SOMERTON -- An architectural firm from Yuma and one from Phoenix are under consideration to design a new City Hall building.
Patterson Thompson Architects of Yuma and LEA Architects of Yuma have emerged as finalists among five firms that submitted bids to design what city officials say will be a building of about 10,000 square feet in the downtown.
At a recent meeting, the Somerton City Council ordered city administration to complete a further review of the two proposals with the goal of recommending one of the two to the council for selection for the project.
The council had planned to choose an architect this month, and its decision to review two design concepts in greater depth could put the project behind schedule a month or more. But Mayor Martin Porchas and council members said the delay is of no concern.
"We don't want to feel pressured," Porchas said. "We want the best project possible, because it's going to be a very important facility for the community. So we decided to take more time to choose a company.
"Both finalists have interesting proposals, and we want to speak in greater depth with them, to look again at what they offer and then make the best decision," he said.
"The building that gets constructed will surely outlive me," added Councilman Miguel Villalpando. "It has to be a building that serves and improves the community. There's not need to rush."
The city has set aside $80,000 for the design phase of a building that Somerton officials want to locate either at the present site of City Hall at State and Main streets, or on another city-owned lot nearby in the downtown.
The current building is no longer large enough to house all of the city's department, officials say, and cannot be enlarged.
Porchas anticipates the design phase would take six to seven months, after which construction could begin sometime after the start of a new fiscal year next July.
The city plans to play for construction with money raised by an 0.8 percent sales tax rate increase that the council approved in 2011.