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Civic Center Project - Social Media #AthertonCivicCenter

The City Council initiated efforts to redevelop its Civic Center by appointing the Civic Center Advisory Committee (CCAC) in 2013. The CCAC was chartered to advise City Council on the Civic Center Master Plan and on communicating with and reaching out to residents to gather feedback as the Civic Center Project moves along.

The City Council accepted the Master Plan on March 19, 2014. The Master Plan envisioned construction of new buildings within the Civic Center that include Council Chambers, library, facilities for town administration, the police department, the building department and public works. Bringing together the Town’s public services and public spaces, the Civic Center project hopes to create a “there there” to achieve a balance between meeting the community’s service needs at one location and providing a space for civic pride and engagement. 

The Council hired WRNS Architects in late 2014 to begin work on the Project's design. The CCAC worked with WRNS through 2015 and presented a Conceptual Master Plan to the City Council on October 7. The City Council accepted the Conceptual Master Plan and the project is now in the Schematic Design Phase. 

The CCAC is committed to making sure residents are included in the process. The CCAC meets monthly as a forum to provide ample opportunities for residents to express their ideas and opinions regarding the new Civic Center. A priority of the Committee is to make sure that information is readily available so residents can stay informed throughout the process. 

Regular meetings of the CCAC occur monthly in the Atherton Council Chambers - typically on the 1st Monday of each month at 4:30 pm. These meetings are public meetings and you are always welcome to attend. For more information or to provide feedback/comments, feel free to contact George Rodericks, City Manager at (650) 752-0504 or any member of the Project Team listed to the right.

Please visit the Town's online Calendar and this web page for updates.

To arrange for a tour of current facilities, please contact Marty Hanneman, Town Engineer. Contact information for the project team is located in the right-hand panel of this webpage. 

Latest Plans

civic court

October 2016 - Fair Oaks View

Civic Center

October 2016 - Civic Center View


October 2016 - Library Views

100% Design Development Drawings January 18, 2017

Presentation to City Council - October 19, 2016

50% Design Development Drawings - September 12, 2016

Schematic Design Summary - April 21, 2016

Previous Drawings

Design Drawings - WRNS Presentations - March 7, 2016

Design Drawings - February 2016

February 2016 - Site Plan

CCAC Sustainability Slide

Design Drawings - December 2015

Preliminary Schematic Design - November 2015

Cost and Revenue Summary - November 2015

Accepted Conceptual Design (10/7/2015) - Design Accepted with Modification (not shown) to Council Chambers relocated from Admin wing to Public Safety wing

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Project Update Reports

May 2016 - Project Update Report

Project Status

Milestones 2017:

• February 1, Project History to be presented to Council
• February 6, Anticipated that landscaping plan will be forwarded from CCAC to Council.
• February 15, Council discussion to consider call for special election to discuss Measure L, and consider approval of 100% Design Development Plans and Cost Estimate, and Council to direct project team to proceed with construction documents (CD).

Milestones 2016:

• Design style (Santa Barbara Mediterranean) selected
• Schematic Design approved and refined
• Design Development authorized
• Received a $40,000 grant to improve energy efficiency
• Design review reduced the size of the City Hall by about 4,700 sf
• 50% DD cost estimated at $38.9M
• Landscape concept for natural look and year-around greenery recommended
• 75% Design Development prepared by WRNS

WRNS continued to refine Schematic Design, with CCAC input. Much discussion focused on the building façade design, including door, window and roof elements selected to be similar to Santa Barbara style prevalent at UC Berkeley and Stanford University, as well as in Downtown Palo Alto and in many Atherton residences. Council Chambers are attached to the southern end of the PD at an angle, which avoids conflict with a 36” SFPUC water line. Council had directed staff to pursue relocation of the water line and WRNS’ sub-consultants were designing the new line in order to develop more accurate cost estimates. Council and CCAC jointly hosted another public open house attended by over 60 residents, nearly all of whom favorably commented on the project’s design. Following public input, the CCAC recommended and Council approved the Schematic Design in May. WRNS was authorized to proceed to Design Development for a fee of $767,985, with AN contributing $506,870.

In June, Council directed that the project budget be reduced by $1.8M in order to cap fundraising requirements at $25M. Staff worked with WRNS to reduce some elements in the base bid towards this objective, with significant changes to landscaping and inclusion of enhancements as Add-Alternates. These changes resulted in reducing the overall size of the main building by about 4,500 sf. A cost estimate prepared at the 50% Design Development stage yielded a cost of $38.9M. Library costs increased from $13.4 to $14.9M, with its construction estimated at $835/sf. The Administration/Police building costs, by comparison are estimated at $600/sf, and costs allocated to the Building Development increased. As a result, Council supported reinstatement of charges in Building permit fees to offset higher estimated costs for replacement of Building Development facilities. Staff noted that the estimated funding requirement from donations was reduced to $20.7M.

In September, City Council authorized the City Manager to contract with WRNS to redesign the Corporation Yards at the Civic Center and Holbrook-Palmer Park for a not to exceed fee of $527,500 in order to accommodate changes made by the Civic Center design. Changes which necessitated this additional task were realignment of Station Lane and relocation of some storage functions from the constrained Police parking lot and auxiliary building...

At the November 16th Council meeting, based on a letter from the SFPUC stating they did not favor moving the existing 36 inch water line running through part of the project site, Council directed staff to negotiate with the SFPUC an agreement to establish new and revised water line easements, and terms of payments of these for Council’s consideration.

At the joint December 5th Council and CCAC meeting, Council reviewed and approved the Sustainability Summary for the various building elements, including their initial cost and return on investment (ROI) and provided direction to the project team for which elements should be included in the building plans. After deciding on some PV panel placements, Council stated that zero net energy (ZNE) is an overall campus goal, not a requirement. Landscaping concepts, some plantings, and consideration of water features were discussed, with decisions to be made at subsequent meetings.

May 2016

The CCAC met at their regular monthly meeting and discussed next steps.  They clarified their role in reviewing designs for areas where Atherton residents and customers’ needs will be met, including the City Hall lobby and Post Office, Library, Council Chambers, cafe and all outdoor landscaped areas.  The Committee’s role continues to be outreach to Atherton residents and oversight of the project.  

Schematic Design will be presented to the City Council for acceptance at the City Council’s May 18 meeting, along with an independently developed Estimate of Probable Cost..  City Council will be asked to approve Schematic Design and give direction to the architect and staff.  After acceptance of Schematic Design, the Town’s architect, WRNS Studio, will move to the next design phase, Design Development. It is anticipated that Design Development will take between 4 and 6 months. During Design Development, WRNS will further refine the interior and exterior of the designs.  At one of their regularly scheduled CCAC meetings, the CCAC will invite the public to attend to view and comment upon the draft Design Development plans. 

During Design Development, WRNS will further develop site plans, floor plans, ceiling and roof plans, elevations, door and window schedules, finishes, and draft specifications as well as interior materials samples. Landscape drawings will also be reviewed during Design Development. Structural, engineering, foundations, mechanical, HVAC, plumbing, power, furniture and fixture, lighting, signal and alarm, 911, and other issues will be detailed during Design Development. 

Prior Monthly Status Reports

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Project Timeline

The project is presently in the Schematic Design Phase. This phase was expected to complete in January 2016 but has extended to March/April to allow for additional CCAC and community input.  Following is a revised basic timeline for the remainder of the project: 

• Design Development Phase - June 2016 - February 2017
• Construction Drawings Phase - February 2017 - October 2017 
• Bid Phase - November 2017 - December 2017 
• Construction Phase - February 2018 - 2019

Project Cost/Funding

Measure L, approved by voters in 2012, restricts the types of funds that can be used for the design and construction of the new Town Center, generally requiring that more than half of the funds come from private donations and other non-tax sources, such as building fees or grants. The Town cannot use General Fund or Parcel Tax Funds to design or construct the new Town Center. The costs associated with the Library can be funded by Library funds. 


The total cost of design for the new Town Center and Library totals approximately $3.2 million. 

 Design Phases Cost Library Building Donations
1. Master Plan Confirmation $122,060 $31,735.60 $9,764.80 $80,559.60
2. Conceptual Design $257,420 $66,929.20 $20,593.60 $169,897.20
3. Schematic Design $304,300 $79,118.00 $24,344.00 $200,838.00
4. Design Development $767,985 $199,676.10 $61,438.80 $506,870.10
5. Construction Drawings $1,182,615 $307,479.90 $94,609.20 $780,525.90
6. Bidding $65,740 $17,092.40 $5,259.20 $43,388.40
7. Construction Admin $519,960 $135,189.60 $41,596.80 $343,173.60
Total $3,220,080 $837,220.80 $257,606.40 $2,125,252.80


The cost estimate prepared by an independent cost estimator for the Conceptual Plan is $42.9 million. It will be refined as the project evolves. The initial cost estimate for overall project cost (inclusive of design) was $31.8 million based on the initial Master Plan. This original estimate did not include a number of alternatives (such as enhanced roofing, green-building upgrades, or refurbishment of the potentially historic Council Chambers). These selected options add an additional $5 million to the project construction costs.

At this time (October 2015), based on the design of the project and site development, the Library accounts for approximately 31% of the overall costs, the Building and Development Services accounts for another 5% of the overall costs, and the remaining 64% must be funded through donations or grant funding. The Library portion of the project is fully funded by Library revenues ($13.4 million). The Town has approximately $2.2 million in authorized funding approved under the ballot measure for the remainder of the project plus any accumulated donations from Atherton Now for soft costs. Atherton Now has advised that the "soft costs" for the project are fully funded. As noted above, this represents approximately $2.1 million in additional funding. Extracting the cost of the Library and the revenue noted prior ($17.7 million total) from the total project costs of $42.9 million leaves approximately $25.2 in required funds. 

Included in the $25.2 in remaining required funds is $4.4 million in contingencies that will be reduced as the design of the project moves forward. Also included is the potential for cost-escalation between the current estimate of project award through the mid-point of construction. This is another $2.8 million. This amount is a projection that will need to be adjusted as the project moves forward. 

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Project Documents

Links to City Council Milestone Meeting Packets

Architect Agreement and Scope of Work
As of October 2015, WRNS was authorized to proceed through Phase III, Schematic Design. 

Environmental Impact Report
EIR Scoping Meeting November 3, 2014
Initial Study Checklist
Notice of Availability (NOA)
Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)

DEIR Appendices:
A. Initial Study
B. Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Background Modeling and Data
C. Health Risk Assessment
D. Cultural Resources Study for the Atherton Civic Center Master Plan
E. Noise Monitoring Data
F. Transportation Impact Analysis

Final Civic Center Master Plan
Master Plan Document
Site Plan
Project Schedule
Appendix A - Meeting Notes
Appendix B - Powerpoint Presentations of Meetings
Appendix C - Photos of Community Meetings
Appendix D - Graphic Recordings
Appendix E - Detailed Program
Appendix F - Detailed Cost Estimate
Appendix G - Survey
Appendix H - Traffic Report
Appendix I - Arborist Report

Architect Submittals

WRNS Studio 
Harley Ellis Devereaux
Swatt Miers
Siegel & Strain Architects
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Architectural Services for Civic Center Design RFQ 
Civic Center Architect RFP Note: distributed only to invited architects

Other Project Documents
Cost Comparison Summary - October 2015
Civic Center Cost Estimate - October 2015
Concept Design Summary - October 7, 2015
Conceptual Design - October 7, 2015
CCAC Recommended Conceptual Plan - September 2015
Mack5 September 2015 Estimate
Concept No. 1 in JPEG Format
Concept No. 2 in JPEG Format
Pathway Scheme
Linked Buildings
Site Analysis
Landscape Ideas
SFPUC pipeline highlighted (1937 map) 
Existing Conditions Plan - 2013
Civic Center Master Plan RFP - March 2013
HMC+BPA Draft Schedule | Timeline - July 2013
HMC+BPA Proposal - July 17, 2013
Community Workshop Graphic Recording - September 2013
Site Challenge Graphic Recording - September 2013
Likes Dislikes Diagram - September 2013
PowerPoint Presentation from Public Workshop #1 - September 17, 2013 
Master Plan Presentation to City Council - November 6, 2013
CCAC meeting agenda and reports - December 3, 2013
Atherton Town Center Site Master Plan December 11, 2013
Atherton Town Center Option 4.1 December 18, 2013
Mack5 Proposal - June 2014
RFP Q&A December 2, 2014

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Civic Center Staff Project Team

George Rodericks

City Manager

Marty Hanneman
Town Engineer

Joe Wade
Police Chief

Theresa DellaSanta
City Clerk

Rachel McDonnell
SMCL Building Projects Management Analyst


Civic Center Advisory Committee


Project Management
Paul Beamer & Mark Kelley
1900 Powell Street
Emeryville, CA 94608

Pauline Souza & Adam Woltag
WRNS Studio
501 2nd Street, #402
San Francisco, CA 94107

Fund Raising
Atherton Now