Douglas County commissioners agreed today to pay just over $554,000 in architectural fees for the final phase of designing a new facility for the Public Works Department.
That facility, planned for a site near the county jail on East 25th Street, is now estimated to cost about $13.9 million. It will provide office space, storage and maintenance facilities for the department, which is currently spread between two separate facilities. The new facility is also being designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, standards.
Funding for the project is already included in the county's budget. Most of it will come from $9.5 million in bonds the county issued in June. Another $2.5 million has been set aside in the county's capital improvements program, and the remainder will come from motor fuel tax revenue and cash reserves.
In November, commissioners approved hiring the firm clark-huesemann to design the new facility and agreed to pay $219,000 for the initial phase of design. That included assessing the agency's needs and producing general schematics of the facility.
At that time, county officials estimated the second phase of design, the detailed blueprints and specifications for the project, would cost another $310,000, and that the total construction cost would be around $6 million.
But county officials said the scope and complexity of the project have grown since then. Much of that, officials said, was due to the county's desire to have the new building meet LEED certification requirements.
Those include features to make the building more energy efficient, such as making use of natural sunlight to reduce electrical costs and landscaping to minimize the impact of storm-water runoff.
The final documents are expected to be completed by December, with construction slated to begin in February 2014.