City Council considers future Public Works Center sites

Bonney Lake staff have said they prefer a consolidated Public Works Center plan, putting the building and work yard all on the future 217th Ave site. Image courtesy of the city of Bonney Lake.

As Bonney Lake’s population grows, so does the need for a new public works center.

On April 4, a city council workshop took place to discuss a new development in the still-early stages of building a new public works center. Namely, where it will be located.

In attendance was the Bonney Lake city council, mayor Neil Johnson and representatives of ARC Architects, the company hired to draw up the plans for the new center.

Rex Bond of ARC brought up two possible sites for the new public works facilities, one of which requires two separate locations. With the two separate locations, there would be the work center building on one site and then a storage facility for equipment and vehicles on the other.

“We’ve got two schemes. One is called a split scheme, which takes public works and puts a part of it on the 225th and a part of it on the 217th. And then we have a consolidated scheme that puts everything on the 217th site,” Bond said.

The two locations – 225th and 217th – refer to the names of the two future streets that the proposed buildings would occupy, as labeled by one of the maps used in the presentation.

Bond said that the split option offers lower costs, but the Public Services Director John Vodopich said he prefers the consolidation option.

“A combined facility would be more efficient and a better use of our resources,” Vodopich said in a later interview.

The total cost of the consolidated option would be $23.3 million and the split option would be $22.5 million, roughly a $767,000 difference.

Though Bond presented figures that show the building and site costs, he said that there are still unknowns.

“What is not included is wetland mitigation that might be required,” said Bond, referring to the wetlands at the 225th site.

Another unknown that Bond brought up was additional “soft cost” of permit fees and tax rates.

He estimated these soft costs would be about 40 percent of the entire project, but also said they vary by municipality.

City Administrator Don Morrison said he expects the soft costs to be lower than 40 percent.

“The 40 percent “soft cost” is a generalized statement. It shouldn’t be that much,” he said in an email.

If the 40 percent soft cost estimate is accurate for either project, the city would need roughly $9 million more for the extra costs, bringing up the total estimated costs for the projects between $31.5 and $32.5 million.

The city currently has $21 million set aside for the new center, $4 million of which is from a “previous set-aside” for the public works center and $17 million from bonds, Morrison said.

Though the city’s population is growing at a rate that the public works center can’t keep up with, the process for a new facility is a long one.

More planning and discussion on these potential Public Works Center sites is expected in the near future.

“We are starting to put together a timeline and more detail cost estimate, including an estimate of the soft costs. Some of those will only be approximate as they may be dependent on Pierce County’s demands for improvements to 96th street,” Morrison said. “I don’t anticipate this coming back to workshop until late May.”