Residents react to new muni building

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By Arin McKenna

Overall response to the new municipal building skewed to the positive, although there were some caveats with the design. Here is what some people had to say.

Roland Caspersen: "I was against building this way back, because they had the old building, and I said, don't tear it down. But now that it's here, it's fantastic; and I'm all for it. It's lovely."

Michael Redondo: "It's a beautiful building except for the giant, dark entrances–like the way they sort of diminish as you go. It stretches things out, and for some reason it gives me a sense of foreboding to walk down them, like I'm going to my doom.

"But otherwise it's a wonderful building. A lot of the goals have been achieved. It's great that county government is all together in one place finally. That's going to be immensely useful for efficiency. And the space here for the historical society is great. It's going to be wonderful for them and for the community."

Redondo would have liked to see "a more environmentally sensitive design" that incorporated passive and active solar and a rainwater collection system on the roof.

"We can afford to do that sort of thing," Redondo said.

Heddy Dunn: "What I especially like is the fact that you aren’t just in a glass fishbowl. You see this beautiful scenery and you can actually get out to a deck and access it. It's very nice.

"It is somewhat surprising that a town of 18,000 has a building this big. But, given that they've got it now, they might as well make the best use of it, and I'm sure there will be efficiencies once everyone is together."

Merry McIntyre: "I would have liked to see a more flowing design with more curves. It's a very masculine building. When you combine curves and straight lines, there's a balance between masculine and feminine.

"And I think it could have had more warmth to it, with the colors used. It's very stark, the colors chosen. They could have used some pastel colors. It's not a pretty building as far as I'm concerned.

"And there's a lot of wasted space, open space that could have been office space."

McIntyre wondered why it was not designed to hold the fire department administration.

Barbara Calef: "I think it's great that they have it all in one building, and it's a fine building. I envy those with the big windows. I look forward to attending council meetings in the new room."

Lori Heimdahl Gibson: "I think in many ways it's magnificent. I think it's really big. I think it will be very functional for the county. I'm glad it's done and people are in it and can get working well for the community. But it is big."

Former council Chair Lawry Mann: "It's too big and it cost too much money.

Colleen Hanlon: "I think it's a beautiful building. I originally thought it was going to be too much. I'm more of a conservative person and I thought this was too big. And Los Alamos always seems like they have to have the biggest and the best.

"But now that I'm in here, it seems like it fits. There are 150 employees here and I think the staff are going to enjoy it. They've made it very customer friendly and open and welcoming and a beautiful addition to our community."

Hanlon was one of those who had advocated for another location, her favorite being the Trinity Drive option and using the old municipal building for the historical archives.

"But I think it's a good spot for it and it's good to have everything all together. And I'm glad there's lots of parking for people. And I think it should last most of our lifetimes."

Dean Decker: "What's amazing is when you have a new building it seems like you have so much space. Twenty years later, you're crowded."

Carl Thornton: "As a member of the site selection committee, I'm really proud about how this has turned out, because it's a quality building that shows a quality of life here in Los Alamos.

Mary Lou Erickson: "I think it's fantastic. It's beautiful. The views are incredible. I was for it from the very beginning. It is one thing that I think is going to stimulate business, bring people in. It's great. It's a good thing for the community."

The new historical archives received especially high praise. For more about the archives, read Thursday's Los Alamos Monitor.