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Carlsbad to create consolidated workplace for some city staff

CARLSBAD — A new operations and maintenance center was given the green light on Tuesday during the City Council meeting with a unanimous vote.

Carlsbad Public Works Director Pat Thomas and Municipal Project Manager Jesse Zunke gave a detailed presentation to the council about the need for a consolidated workplace.

Currently, operations and maintenance staff is spread between four locations in the city, but now they will be located at the city’s fleet maintenance site next to the police and fire headquarters.

“The construction of a new operations and maintenance center is needed to consolidate for efficiency,” Thomas said. “We can repurpose the other buildings.”

The project, meanwhile, is expected to finish and be operational by 2018.

The cost, however, will be split between $660,864 for landing the architectural firm RNT to design the structures. Additional costs, which have not been calculated, will come from several funds in the department’s $25.7 million budget.

RNT, meanwhile, was chosen after a bidding process netting 14 proposals, Thomas said, although the company was not the lowest bidder.

RNT, though, had the second lowest bid, and was selected over other firms due to their overall grade meeting city qualifications and experience.

Thomas said RNT’s duties will include space programming, design workshops to discuss facility requirements, site entitlements, schematic design and construction oversight.

The new center will house 126 employees and include a warehouse, materials yard, administrative office and a two-story parking structure with 151 spaces to be shared with the police and fire departments.

“This will lead a reduction in cost and fits in the scope of our budget,” Thomas said.

As for the timeline, RNT is expected to complete the bridging document package within the next year. In fall 2016, the city plans to hire a builder, while the next six months will consist of completing the designs.

The final 18 months be construction of the facility with a target opening date of winter 2018.

“We pre-qualified (the candidates) with a bridging document package to identify quality and value,” Zunke said.

Thomas said the department has been shooting for a consolidated facility for the past 15 years. In 2000, bids were accepted but the project was placed on hold due to higher than expected costs.

In 2008, the plan was re-evaluated, but again costs were too expensive to proceed. The plan was brought back to life in 2010, but a 2011 space study concluded the needs were less than anticipated, Thomas added.

As for the other three buildings, Thomas said two are owned by the city and one by the Carlsbad Municipal Water District. Upon completion of the new project, he said the city could light lease their properties as a way to generate additional revenue, while the CMWD could do the same.