Clallam County’s Public Utility District is looking to upgrade aging facilities and improve efficiency by consolidating departments at its base in Carlsborg.
PUD Commission president Hugh Haffner said he is a proponent of a newly drafted facilities plan that points toward a need for new headquarters.
“Many of the facilities we currently operate out of simply need to be replaced or upgraded because they have exceeded their economic viability.”
Projected cost of the new headquarters building in Carlsborg and an engineering addition to the Carlsborg Operations Center is estimated at $10.2 million for about 34,000 square feet. Construction time estimates are 14-18 months.
The PUD also plans to tear down its facility on East Washington Street, empty since December 2006 and earmarked for demolition after a severe mold infestation.
PUD officials say their facilities are aging and may require “significant expenditures” to bring them to current industry standards. Officials note the PUD’s Port Angeles headquarters building was constructed in the 1960s.
“The reality is that the PUD is committed to its customers and we are here to serve the area for years to come,” PUD general manager Doug Nass said. “We respect the current difficult economic climate. However, the 50-year-old facilities need to be replaced.”
Bringing the old facility up to code and expanding to allow one-stop customer service for electric, water and sewer would cost the same as a new building or new headquarters on property the district already owns in Carlsborg, PUD officials said.
The construction of a new facility is expected to have a minor impact on utility rates, they said.
“Our primary rate impacts right now are BPA wholesale rate increases, aging infrastructure and the projected impact of the Washington Energy Independence Act,” Nass said.
PUD’s facility planning and upgrading process began in 2007 when the PUD consulted with an architect firm that recommended the district’s facilities be centralized in the eastern part of Clallam County. The move would improve efficiency and get PUD workers closer to the center of its existing customer base.
The PUD purchased the old Costco property and warehouse-style in Carlsborg in 2008. That building was converted to the PUD’s central warehouse facility and the property was identified as an ideal location for a new headquarters building. In May, PUD commissioners approved a contract with Bellevue architecture firm Lawhead and Associates to study and design a headquarters facility.
A brief timeline of PUD’s comprehensive facilities plan includes:
• December 2013 — Construction of a new substation shop at the current Carlsborg Operations Center
• 2014 — Removal of Sequim customer office on East Washington Street (PUD will retain property)
• 2014 — Removal of Coastal View Building, located adjacent to the PUD’s Central Warehouse Facility in Carlsborg. Removal creates space for new headquarters.
• 2014 — Development of small storage building on property in the Forks Business Park
• March 2014 — Begin permitting process for a new headquarters facility adjacent to the PUD’s Central Warehouse Facility in Carlsborg
• March 2014 — Begin permitting process for the expansion of the Carlsborg operations center to house the engineering department
• June/July 2014 — Begin construction of the new headquarters and operations center addition
• Beyond (five-year plan) — Construct a new operations center in Forks on Business Park property, construct auto shop in Carlsborg
• Port Angeles headquarters and adjacent water maintenance shop to be placed for sale.
The 2014 facilities are contingent upon final approval of the 2014 budget, one that commissioners look to approve at their Dec. 16 meeting.