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Study proposed of relocating Civic Center

Evanston aldermen will be asked Monday to approve hiring a consultant to research the feasibility of replacing the Civic Center.

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Evanston aldermen will be asked Monday to approve hiring a consultant to research the feasibility of replacing the Civic Center.

In a memo recommending issuance of a request for proposals for the study, City Manager Erika Storlie says it would provide information about the potential cost of a move.

She says the planned study would also consider consolidating the city’s police and fire headquarters in a new Civic Center building and consider the potential for including “additional institutional, educational, commercial or affordable housing uses” in a new structure.

The memo stresses that moving forward with a feasibility study “is not a vote to vacate the Civic Center” but is intended to provide provide information the Council and community will need to make a decision about the building in the future.

The memo says the Civic Center building, portions of which date to 1901, needs more than $10 million in HVAC and electrical system improvements — not counting additional measure that may be needed to meet the city’s Climate Action Resiliency Plan goals and to address ventilation and air filtration issues identified as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Police and fire headquarters.

It also says the police and fire headquarters, at 1454 Elmwood St., built in 1949, like the Civic Center, is “woefully outdated,” and the cost of a partial list of needed improvements is estimated to total $5.5 million.

The memo says the Civic Center has about 120,000 square feet of space and staff estimates that in a modern building with a more efficient layout, the space needs would be about 70,000 square feet.

By contrast, the police and fire headquarters building, which has roughly 44,000 square feet of space, is described in the memo as being too small for current staffing levels.

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