A building repair and expansion project is just getting started at Shoreline Water District… what does it mean to our customers?
It all began innocently enough with a small drip in the lobby. The next year, another pesky leak appeared by the printer room, followed by a steady drizzle above the break room back door.
Suddenly one night, a whole section of the ceiling gave way during a particularly bad rainstorm, narrowly missing the computer servers that control Shoreline Water District’s phones, financials, and public water monitoring system.
Clearly, the roof needed to be replaced. But the problems didn’t end there…
The lights in the lobby had never worked (due to other roof complications), the electrical system was outdated (and not up to current code), the building had never been properly insulated, and the HVAC systems were beyond tired (no doubt due to the lack of insulation). Meanwhile customers had no public bathroom, Board members and technical staff had no place to conduct formal business (other than a table in the lobby), and employees were often seen eating lunch in their car rather than sit next to the employee restroom (which was the only space left for a lunch area).
Shoreline Water District needed a building that worked
Although the District did an admirable job converting an old bank branch building into affordable office space sixteen years ago, operations have increased in complexity since then, with expanded services, sophisticated monitoring systems, and a more comprehensive philosophy about the delivery of water to an ever expanding community.
Enter Rick Driftmier of Driftmier Architects…
Rick was intimately familiar with the District’s office building, having overseen its conversion back in 1996. In 2010, he and his staff assessed the building’s current problems, and conducted a comprehensive needs analysis, looking at the facility’s current as well as projected operations 10 and 20 years into the future.
Once he and his team calculated the costs necessary to fix the roof, the electrical, and the HVAC, the amount was large enough to activate the North City Subarea Plan, which necessitated even more improvements.
The study also investigated the possibility of combining equipment maintenance operations under one roof, however this solution required more time, cost and land, so Rick recommended that the District focus on its most pressing needs first: the office building repair, while working towards a new shop maintenance facility in the future.
One of the biggest assets of Shoreline remaining at its current location is just that: location. Visibility and access are excellent, parking is good, the bank’s original drive-through is already serving the public very well as a convenient payment method, and a large backup generator system is already in place to keep the District open during power outages and emergencies.
All the building needs is a thoughtful repair and expansion to return it to optimum function. After looking at all of the options and carefully weighing the costs, Shoreline Water District’s Board members decided to go forward with the project.
The timing is perfect, in light of the current economy
Over the past three years, the cost of construction supplies and labor has been at record lows. Only recently have both started to rebound, making it critical to capture the best possible cost savings on much-needed building repairs before the rates go up much further.
The same is true of the local labor forecast: people need jobs right now, so a local construction project would potentially benefit the community. Shoreline has long maintained a “buy local” policy, and the same would be true of sourcing supplies during construction.
The project will incorporate multiple new community benefits
An approximately 950 square foot meeting room will provide a comfortable, convenient location to hold special public meetings. It will be available during business hours, and supported by public bathrooms (not only for meeting attendees, but for people who drop by the office during the day to pay a bill or get information). The building will also include private meeting rooms for District staff to confer and work with developers, contractors, or individuals about water-related issues. The building’s security will be enhanced, and its structure will be strengthened to meet current seismic / earthquake code.
The architects are also exploring various water conservation approaches that may provide cost savings as well as opportunities for public demonstration, information and education.
When complete in late February 2013, the resulting expanded and upgraded office building will enable Shoreline Water District to be far more efficient and productive in providing secure, enhanced services to its customers and its community, with a building that will be around for decades.
Now through May 2012: out for construction bids
June 2012 – March 2013: construction (approx. 6 months)
The current building’s 4,538 square feet footprint will remain, with an approximate 2,250 square feet expansion at the southwest corner and towards NE 177th Street. This will provide additional office space, meeting rooms, ample employee lunch room, a long-awaited conference room, and public bathrooms. The building’s flat roof will be removed and replaced with a 20-year energy efficient, gabled metal roof.
The building’s infrastructure will be upgraded to current code, including mechanical, electrical, structural, and HVAC/plumbing systems. New energy efficient windows and building insulation will be added.
Site work will include new curbs, gutters and sidewalks along NE 177th Street, parking lot improvements, security fencing, and the relocation of Shoreline Water District’s sign.
The total construction budget for this project is approximately $1.8 million, most of which will be paid for by existing cash on hand, thanks to Shoreline’s proactive cost modeling and “eagle-eye” reviews of past and current project finances. The remainder will be funded by water revenue bonds which the District received in December at a net borrowing rate of 3.07%.
Diane Pottinger, P.E., District Manager, Shoreline Water District
Architectural Planning and Design:
Rick Driftmier, The Driftmier Architects, PS