Late architectâ�?�?s vision lives on in city hall By David Lias
Plain Talk An individual who was largely responsible for combining beauty and function in the design of Vermillion's new city hall sadly wasn't present for the structure's dedication next year. The building's architect, Owen M. Mamura, 61, of Sioux City, IA, died Friday, Nov. 7, 2008 in Rochester, MN. Mayor Dan Christopherson and other city officials took time during the April 30 city hall dedication ceremony to recognize the architect's unique talent and ability to turn the dreams of community members into reality. As a lasting tribute, they dedicated a conference room in the new building to the late architect. Owen was born in Lihue, Kauai, HI on June 5, 1947, the son of Misuku and Fujiko (Arinaga) Mamura. He was raised in Hawaii and graduated from high school in Lihue. He attended Kansas State University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in architecture. In 1971, he joined the U.S. Army and served as a combat engineer platoon leader for the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1974, he came to Sioux City and worked as a principal and project architect for the Duffy, Ruble, Mamura and Brygger, P.C. from 1974 until his death. The firm is now Cannon, Moss, Brygger and Associates. On Aug. 3, 1975, he married Judy Dandurand in Sioux City. He was a member of the American Institute of Architects (A.I.A.) and the International Facility, Management Association (I.F.M.A.). He was very active with the Boy Scouts of America. He earned his Eagle Scout rank and distinction from the Kauai, HI district of the Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America. He later served as an assistant Scout Master and Merit Badge Counselor for the Sioux City Boy Scout Troop 225. He served several years as the Council Commissioner (the second highest volunteer position) for the Prairie Gold Area Council, now part of the Mid-America Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Thanks to the efficient work of Mamura and the staff of Cannon, Moss, Brygger and Associates, the Vermillion City Council was able to add extra design elements to the new city hall building. "There's been talk for a long time about a terrazzo floor in the lobby of the new building," Prescott said in a news story last year, before construction was complete. "Since the contractor's bid was under what was projected, we were able to add the floor to the contract. We'll also have some additional vinyl wall covering in the building. Both of those features were things that could have been left out of the project if necessary." Prescott noted that the new city hall solves many of the challenges the city faced with its prior city hall structure, which was razed to make room for the new building. "The old building was refitted to be a city hall," Prescott said. "The new one is designed to be a city hall. It provides American Disabilities Act access for the public and has an elevator that accesses all three floors. We have some space that we can offer the community for meetings. It's possible that USD will use some of the space for government classes that they would like to hold in a government facility. That's been discussed." The new building also meets fire codes that were not possible to upgrade in the old structure. While the new facility is designed to provide for all the needs of modern day government offices, Prescott noted the building design incorporates a number of historic architectural characteristics that allows the building to blend with other historic structures downtown. Palladian or arched windows and granite marble trim on the building's exterior are two of the design elements intended to preserve Vermillion's historic flavor. "We believe the new building will enhance the community's overall image in regard to how we serve people and provide services," Prescott said.
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