INDIANTOWN – The Indiantown Village Council recently considered presentations from a shortlist of architectural engineering firms bidding to design a new village town hall. The Oct. 14 council meeting determined that the top-ranked firms would make presentations at a future meeting. Thursday, Nov. 18, proposals were submitted by REG Architects, Interiors, Planners and PGAL Architecture, Engineering, Interiors and Planning as the village council inches toward the new town hall construction. A third firm chosen was not present.
Rick Gonzalez, president and founder of REG Architects, explained his organization's 33-year dedication to architecture, historical preservation and community planning. He summarized his companies design experience with, "Over half the projects in our office are public experience," listing various Florida city halls and other structures from St. Augustine to Miami, including the ongoing work on the Martin County Fire Training Facility in Stuart.
"We have extensive public experience. That is very important at the local level," said Gonzalez. He gave an example and explained supply chain issues sustained by the pandemic producing delayed materials triggering plan revisions or modifications. According to Gonzalez, these unexpected incidents are carefully worked through and closely overseen by the municipality REG is working with at the time. He identified it as "value engineering upfront," where "exploring options very early" was preferred. Gonzalez estimated a project cost of $350 per square foot and a completion date between Sept. 2023 and March 2024, depending on the speed at which the village wanted to proceed.
Gonzalez concluded that "The buzz in Palm Beach County and Martin County is everything's happening in Indiantown." He stressed the importance of the project for the community, and that it would set the tone for Indiantown.
Sam Ferrari, principal with PGAL Architects, discussed his organization's 75-year legacy and 25-year involvement in Palm Beach County. "We really want to talk about how we're going to work with you over the next couple of years to bring this project to fruition," he said.
PGAL has a history of meeting budgets and schedules, is on the cutting edge with municipal facilities and has completed over 50, according to Ferrari. He also underscored schoolwork and governmental buildings in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counites. He encouraged councilmembers to reach out to former PGAL clients for references on the value they had received. Ferrari denoted a "cost estimator" that is brought in "on day one," generating an estimated cost of every action before it takes place, so there are “no surprises at the end.” He later estimated a project cost possibly as low as $325 per square foot without guarantees.
Ferrari gave an overview of how "programming" took the day-to-day processes of the village government to determine how much space was required, and the council would remain "stakeholders throughout the design." However, he stressed, "We don't go away and come back with your finished design – it's going to be a process throughout."
As his assistant showed conceptional renderings, Ferrari continued, "It's (town hall) going to be the presence in the community – an identifying point – so they know this is the town center." He concluded, "We love to meet. We love to collaborate. We're not going to do it on the phone. We're going to come here, sit down with you and roll up our sleeves."
Councilmember Susan Gibbs-Thomas was reluctant to make the firm selection. She indicated a desire for a more in-depth inspection of the visuals provided by PGAL and the lack of councilmember Janet Hernandez's thoughts due to her absence as reasons for the delay. Councilmember Guyton Stone agreed with Gibbs-Thomas, stating it "unfair" to decide missing one member.
"This is the future; it might be, if not the (biggest), one of the biggest decisions that we're going to make," said Stone. The item was then tabled until Dec. 9 for a decision.
The council meetings are always available on the Village of Indiantown transparency page under "Meetings: Livestream and Archives."