To better handle the postal needs of a growing city, the U.S. Postal Service will be building a new Lawrence substation in the coming year.
Plans for the new facility could be finalized as early as next month, officials say.
"We will have construction started before the end of the fiscal year (in September)," said John Ledgerwood, manager of design of the postal service's facilities office in Overland Park.
The postal service is planning to build a 21,521-square-foot substation on a four-acre site on West 31st Street.
The new facility, which would replace the Jayhawk Station, 1519 W. 23rd, could be open by the fall of 1993.
Ledgerwood said he expected the design to be completed by early May and that the announcement for construction bids could go out in late May.
Ledgerwood said the bid could be awarded in August and construction would start soon after.
"Typically, for a facility this size, it takes about a year to complete,'' he said.
The postal service in February completed purchase of the land for the new facility just east of Kmart, 3106 Iowa. The postal service paid about $600,000 for the site.
Ledgerwood said he has not seen final cost estimates for the new substation, and would not speculate on what the total cost could be.
The postal service initiated the project to provide additional space for its operations on the south and west sides of Lawrence, where most of the city's growth is concentrated.
The postal service has outgrown its current Jayhawk Station, which offers limited parking and has problems of access.
Lawrence Postmaster Bill Reynolds said the design for the new facility would reflect the postal service's trend toward full automation.
New automation equipment, which should be in Lawrence by 1994 or 1995, will include five bar code sorters which would be placed at the new Lawrence facility and at the main post office, 745 Vt.