Havelock commissioners agreed to move closer toward construction of a new city hall.

Havelock commissioners agreed to move closer toward construction of a new city hall after seeing building designs during a work session last week.

Timothy Oakley and Ann Collier, of Oakley Collier Architects, presented a schematic floor plan for a 9,233 square-foot building that the board generally liked.

Commissioners also liked that the $1.8 million price works with the cityís arrangement for a $1.7 million loan and $100,000 grant for construction from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We tried to skinny this down as much as possible," said Oakley.

The firmís original presentation in the spring exceeded the cityís budget for the project, and the board sent the architects back to the drawing board.

The plan calls for city offices and supplementary spaces to be built somewhat separately from the needed courtroom/commissioners meeting room portion of the structure.

A broad lobby will divide the two portions with a main entrance to overlook a parking lot paralleling Cunningham Boulevard.

The site of the new building is between Cunningham Boulevard and the existing city hall, which would allow city staff to continue to work in the old building as construction takes place.

In the new plans, designers included space for possible building additions, if needed in the future.

The architects will return at an upcoming meeting after the next phase of drawings is complete, which will include materials and the type of construction.

In other business, the board:

- saw preliminary sketches of the proposed Lewis Farm Road recreation area from the firm Municipal Engineering. The designs call for multi-purpose athletic fields, a playground, picnic shelters, bathrooms, concession stand and parking lot at a cost of $930,000. Commissioners asked the engineers to get the cost to around $500,000. The city is considering application for a grant to develop the 47-acre site located west of the city near Carolina Pines.

- agreed to spend $5,000 toward the purchase of the Gent/Noll property and approved an extension in the closing date for the land. The property next to the old Church Road Bridge is part of a large property buy by the city to create a central recreation area around Slocum Creek.