Ocoee picks design-build team finalists for new City Hall project

Three local design-build teams have been chosen as finalists to work on Ocoee's new City Hall project, with price proposals and their architectural pitches to come by September. 

City commissioners settled on a design style back in January for the new City Hall, with the design criteria package created by the Winter Park office of Zyscovich Architects.

In mid-May, they issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for design-build teams to be pre-qualified and short-listed to advance to the second stage of the RFP.  

Conceptual design for the new building is a basic three-story rectangle with 40,000 square feet. The City Commission has indicated a general preference for the Art Deco style of architecture with a brick veneer. 

Six design-build teams applied in June to the RFP. The top three recommended for short-listing must be approved by Ocoee's City Commission on July 17. 

The top three moving on to Stage 2 are: Wharton-Smith with HuntonBrady ArchitectsMcCree General Contractors & Architects with The Lunz Group, and H.J. High Construction with Rhodes+Brito Architects

The next stage involves them submitting construction design and price proposals, based on design criteria to be provided in Stage 2. The three teams will be given six weeks to prepare a conceptual design that includes floor plan schematics, exterior elevations and construction specifications. 

The city will then score and rank to identify the top firm. The award recommendation is anticipated to come back to the City Commission in September or October. 

Wharton-Smith and HuntonBrady touted their experience working together on the $11.2 million Killarney Elementary School in Orange County, and $24.4 million in renovations to two buildings at Seminole State College.

The duo claim a combined $59 million in experience with municipal and city hall projects, which include the Doral City Hall, Winter Park's new Public Library, and Maitland's City Hall. This team also includes S&ME as civil engineer and landscape architect, BBM for structural engineering and SGM Engineering for mechanical, structural and fire protection engineering.

H.J. High and Rhodes+Brito highlighted their work together on three design-build projects for the Orlando Police Department in the last three years, along with current work on a new elementary school for Volusia County.

H.J. High also noted its design-build work on expansion for Fun Spot America and Indian River State College, and future contracts for three Orlando fire stations and a new Discovery Church. BBM, S&ME and SGM Engineering were also all listed as niche service providers on this team. 

The duo of McCree and The Lunz Group highlighted their past work on Inverness City Hall and Government Center, Clermont City Hall, St. James Cathedral School and more than 50 schools for Orange County. 

McCree and Lunz have included McElroy Engineering, Bobes Associates Consulting Engineering, Technology Research and Consulting, Klima Weeks Engineering and Bonnett Design Group on their prospective team. 

The other three applicants that didn't make the cut included Charles Perry Partners with Harvard Jolly, Oelrich Construction with Walker Architects, and Core Construction Services of Florida with Bentley Architects & Engineers. 

The original construction estimate for the project was $9 million, which will be funded in large part by bond proceeds. Estimated design and construction costs range from $11 million to $12 million, per the RFP in May, depending on methods of constructing a theoretical three-story building.

Seventeen months have been allocated for completion of the project, following issuance of a notice to proceed.  

The City Hall relocation project is part of a $45 million public infrastructure investment by Ocoee in order to stimulate development in the city's downtown. 

In addition to the new City Hall, Ocoee is working with GAI Consultants to design a new master stormwater system for its downtown. It also activated the construction phase on its Lakeshore Center expansion.

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