Valpo public works campus aiming for October start

2013-08-14T18:23:00Z 2013-08-15T07:43:03Z Valpo public works campus aiming for October startPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | Plans for the new public works campus are expected to be presented to the city's Site Review Committee on Aug. 27 with the goal of seeking bids in September.

The city's Board of Public Works and Safety approved a lease agreement last week with the building corporation set up to issue the bonds to finance the project. The public works portion of the campus will be almost 80,000 square feet and the lease will be about $418,000 a year for 17 years.

Public Works Director Matt Evans said he met Wednesday with the building corporation, which is made up of Tim Warner, Paul Von Tobel and Mark Ennes. Evans said if things go well at the site review session, he will advertise for bids in early September and open them and be ready to award the contract before the Oct. 3 scheduled closing on the bonds.

Once the bonds are sold, Evans said he expects to sign the contracts and issue the order to proceed within a couple of days. The new facilities are expected to be ready to occupy a year after construction starts.

The public works board also approved the lease between the city's Utilities Board and the building corporation although the utilities board has not approved it yet. The utilities board will issue up to $1.5 million in bonds for its portion of the main building, subleasing it from the public works department for $139,000 a year until the bonds are paid.

Utility Director Steve Poulos said the board is expected to approve the lease at its Aug. 27 meeting. Just how much the utilities can afford is part of the water supply study now underway. Poulos said he probably will have a recommendation on the future water source and rate for the council in September.

The 14,000 square feet to be used by the utilities will house 25 or 26 employees from the distribution and the sewer field divisions. The utilities also will share the vehicle maintenance portion of the building with public works. The business office will remain on Billings Street.

Both department directors said they are excited about the new facility, and, although it will be a couple of months before construction starts, Evans said, "There's a lot to be done, and it will go fast."

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