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Snohomish ramping up Carnegie Building remodel

SNOHOMISH — The final 2017 ‘to-do’ list for the restoration of the Carnegie Building, located at 105 Cedar Ave., to make it the permanent site of future civic meetings and community events went before the City Council last week.
The city is bearing down on its long-discussed remodel priorities list for the 107-year-old building to give it a few new features as well as improvements on old features in order to fully be used again. The city allotted $230,000 in its 2017 budget for the
remodel work.
The city and the Carnegie Foundation have been keep-ing up the building; it was the town library until 2003.
The plans include making the building ADA-accessible with a new elevator or wheelchair lift. The building received a seismic retrofit and new roof in 2013 and last year it was given fresh paint and carpeting.
Longer-term plans are to demolish the 1968 annex built onto the Carnegie.
The first phase of remodeling will begin in coming weeks.
The City Council held a meeting last week inside the Carnegie to help take stock of the space.
Keeping their winter coats on during a council workshop in the old building, council members were set in the upper floor library
room for the meeting, which is accessible by a staircase.
City staff had set the room up with tables, chairs, and a public comment lectern as well as a temporary council dais for a council meeting to show council members the
full scope of the room’s capacity.
The room warmed up a little later at the regular council meeting, with more bodies in the large, unheated room.
Up to 50 people can comfortably sit in the room along with the council and city staff; however, for future meetings that draw larger crowds for discussion, it can be standing-room only
for up to 70 people, and possibly more if others stand in the lobby, according to city personnel. For predictably large meet-
ings, as seen during the marijuana discussions in 2014-2015, the city’s initial back-up plan is to book a larger meeting space elsewhere.
The room is not yet ADA accessible, but that is one of the main priorities for the 2017 remodeling with the installation of a lift and staircase widening. There also isn’t a second exit from the room.
A temporary sound system was also set up for the meeting to make hearing the proceedings easier; as well as a large projector screen for viewing council presentations.
City public works director Steve Schuller said one of the other main goals, apart from remodeling, is to make the space “as flexible as possible” for multiple meeting uses.
Years ago, up until 1992, the City Council met at the Carnegie Building in the basement. Council meetings then moved to the
school district headquarters at 1601 Ave. D.
The city was told a few months ago that the school district wouldn’t be able to consistently provide the
room after Aug. 1 because of school district needs, city manager Larry Bauman said this week.
Council members had no major concerns apart from the crowd capacity and safety questions.
Snohomish Police Chief John Flood told the council he thought the room’s layout at first glance was ideal for safety.
“I believe this provides a good view for the public, to
see the Council and staff but it also provides the ability for a quick exit in an orderly fashion,” Flood said. “It provides an outpost to go behind for Council if needed, and it gives me the opportunity to do
what I’m hired to do. I think this layout is preferable, if I were given a choice.”
With the use of temporary tables, screens, and overall layout, the workshop was experimental for council to gain a sense of how future meetings would be once the city has made more modifications.
“There’s this sense, in a way of coming home,” Mayor Karen Guzak said of meeting in the Carnegie. “I like that.”
Schuller asked that some more council meetings take place in the Carnegie Build-ing as progress is made so council members could continue giving feedback.


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