City to focus on new campus
With the sale of the former Washington Public Library building, city administrator Brent Hinson said it is time for the council to turn its sights to the construction of the new city campus that will expand space for several city offices.
The beginnings of the discussion to construct the new building that will be part of the campus plan will happen during a special Washington City Council session that will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Washington Public Library’s Nicola-Stouffer conference room.
“The real reason I felt we needed to have a workshop is to get the council thinking and get the council on the front end of this process,” Hinson said. “I wanted to get them talking about how to move forward, setting up a committee, and to proceed with the fire station project, architect hiring, those types of things.”
In late 2015 the newly seated council had voted to move away from the former plan of using the library building as a city hall. The consensus was reached to try to build a new campus for city hall and the Washington Police Department. The campus option calls for a new 14,000 square foot fire station at a projected cost of about $3.7 million. According to a space needs study done in 2013, the city offices needed about 25,000 square feet. The current municipal building has about 9,400 square feet.
Hinson said there are still things that need to happen in the next few months.
The fire station project is included in the city budget that will begin on July 1. Hinson believes construction can begin sometime in the middle of 2018, if things go smoothly.
“On a big project, if you want to get the ball rolling, you come to the council on the front end, you have all that discussion, and you get everyone to agree on parameters and how it will work,” Hinson said.
“Maybe that takes one meeting. Maybe that takes three or four. You have that discussion and you move forward from there. Things tend to move more smoothly if people agree upfront what the rules are and how we are going to operate things.”