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Architects Contend for Whitefish City Hall Project
Four firms present ideas in design competition for Whitefish city hall, parking structure
A partial rendering from one of the four proposed new Whitefish City Hall designs. | Image courtesy of MMW Architects
Four architectural firms pitched their design concepts for a new Whitefish City Hall and parking garage complex at a competition on Dec. 11. The conceptual contest is meant to help guide a steering committee in its selection of a design for the prominent downtown project.

In 2011, the council established the steering committee to help usher the divisive project to fruition. The project was approved only after a months-long process during which council members clashed over fundamental differences about whether using a full city block in downtown Whitefish is an appropriate use of the property.

The $11.5 million project passed after Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of building at the current city hall location.

The committee includes Muhlfeld, a city council member, city staff, a licensed architect, members of the public and representatives from the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce and the Heart of Whitefish downtown support group.

During the daylong competition, which included public input, the steering committee saw conceptual presentations from four architecture firms — Mosaic Architecture of Helena, MMW Architecture of Missoula, CTA Architects of Kalispell and J Constenius Architects of Whitefish, which delivered its presentation in tandem with OZ Architects of Missoula.

“These presentations are very early concepts and are just one part of the selection process for an architect for City Hall,” City Manager Chuck Stearns said. “The final design might not look anything like any of these presentations and there will be public involvement in the design process.”

Last year, the city rolled out conceptual drawings about what the facility could look like, but the final design choice will determine where the entrances to city hall and the parking structure will be set. The number of parking spots will range from 190 to 265 depending on the layout; a study showed the need for 200 additional downtown parking spaces during periods of high demand and congestion in the downtown area.

A new City Hall building has been in the cards for Whitefish since 1987 when it was identified as a priority in an urban renewal plan. In 2005, a downtown master plan also specified the need for a new facility.

Whitefish city employees are spread out across several locations and the existing building is outmoded, according to the downtown master plan. The city looked at remodeling the existing building, but it wasn’t logistical or financially feasible due to structural deficiencies.

More information is available at the city of Whitefish website at www.whitefish.govoffice.com. Project-specific information can be found by clicking on “Committees, Boards and Commissions” and selecting “Future City Hall Ad Hoc Steering Committee.”

Comments about the project may be mailed to: Sherri Baccaro, City of Whitefish, Future City Hall Steering Committee Chair, P.O. Box 158, Whitefish, MT 59937. Comments also may be submitted by email to publicworks@cityofwhitefish.org.

Image courtesy J. Constenius Architects

Image courtesy CTA Architects

Image courtesy Mosaic Architecture

Image courtesy MMW Architects

On 12-24-13, Gators commented....
I agree whitefish a cool place.  My wife and I like going there.  I see many good things about this town
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