Two sites are now under consideration for Aberdeen’s new public works building.
One is in the northwest part of town, the other is in the southwest part of town. But the facility could also be at a site that has yet to be determined.
A space needs analysis for the Public Works Department was one of many topics discussed at the city’s regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 28. That’s when Andy Schaunaman discussed the process used to come up with the need for a 116,000-square-foot building and potential building sites.
Schaunaman, who is the brother of Mayor Travis Schaunaman, said the Public Works Department now operates out of 11 different buildings on Third Avenue Southwest. They are used for the street, sanitation, pipe and meter, traffic control, pump and mechanics shops.
Andy Schaunaman is an architect for HKG Architects in Aberdeen. HKG was hired by the city in March to do the analysis. The cost is not to exceed $20,000, which is less than what is required to seek bids under state law.
Public Works Department has 50 full-time employees
Fifty full-time employees and 18 seasonal employees use the current Public Works Department spaces. Andy Schaunaman said while the buildings are well maintained, the working conditions range from poor to worse. There are no carbon monoxide detection or fire suppression systems, he said, and many of the restrooms are in the same area where there’s running equipment.
In a study of functionality, Andy Schaunaman said the current facilities don’t provide an efficient work environment given the time lost to accessing equipment alone, he said.
Parts of finding space for the new public works building included evaluating Aberdeen’s current facilities and reviewing facilities in other towns across the state.
Of five potential sites identified in Aberdeen, Andy Schaunaman said two have the greatest potential. One is near the northwest holding pond and the other is near the southwest holding pond.
Development of new building won’t affect retention ponds
Assistant City Engineer Stu Nelson said development of either piece of property wouldn’t affect the nearby retention ponds. The building would be on adjoining city-owned land not used for water retention, he said.
Andy Schaunaman said that while there’s more space for development around the northwest holding pond, the southwest holding pond site has some existing infrastructure that would provide about $663,000 in savings. The downside, however, is that the southwest retention pond along South 12th Street is in more of a residential area, he said.
Plans call for a major part of the new facility to be used for equipment storage with an outdoor area to stockpile materials.
About 26 acres are available near the northwest holding pond with 18 acres available near the southwest holding pond.
Estimates for the new Public Works building range from $21.37 million to $26.43 million.
The council was asked to approve a professional services agreement to spend as much as $960,000 to move the project to the bidding stage. City Manager Joe Gaa said one of the first steps will be an environmental analysis of both sites to see if there are any concerns. The process could also identify another possible location. But, Gaa said, the site for the new building will have to be identified soon.
Andy Schaunaman said the project could be bid in the spring.
Gaa said the city can pause the process, if it chooses to, but the existing buildings need to be replaced.
“The current facilities really aren’t up to current standards,” he said.
Gaa said the estimated costs are more than expected, and the council has options when it comes to savings and alternate sites. He encouraged the council to work through those details, see the project through and consider bonding as a way to finance the new building.
“It would be a travesty not to see this through,” said Gaa, whose last day with the city is Sept. 8. He has been hired as the new city manager in Marshalltown, Iowa.
Day care ordinance would all substitute operators
In other action, the council approved the first reading of a new ordinance to the city’s day care policies. The change would allow for a substitute operator.
City Attorney Ron Wager said a substitute day care operator would have to be CPR-certified and pass the required background check, but would not be a licensed provider at a specific day care. Instead, the person would provide temporary help for in-home day cares the way a substitute teacher does at a school.
The ordinance would fill a need because it would mean that day cares wouldn’t have to close for a doctor appointment, sudden illness or vacation.
Wager said the 55 day care providers in Aberdeen were notified of the pending change and are generally supportive of it.
The ordinance was unanimously approved, and any amendments will be sent to Wager for consideration.
Some on the council wondered if the term temporary should be more clearly defined. They asked if a maximum number of weeks should be set or whether that’s a discussion for childcare providers and parents.
Wager said there currently isn’t a provision in the ordinance that stipulates the provider maintain communication on the length of temporary services.
The new ordinance will be back up for discussion at next week’s city council meeting.
Council members also approved a preliminary engineering services agreement with BNSF Railroad to evaluate the rail crossings on South Main Street and South Roosevelt Street at Milwaukee Avenue Northeast. Nelson said the railroad and state are evaluating upgrades to the crossings and crossing arms.