Westerville News & Public Opinion

Public Service Department facility

Council hears plans for $3.7-million expansion

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As the city prepares to overhaul its Public Service Department building, Westerville City Council heard staff recommendations at a Jan. 29 work session on what the renovations should include.

The city already has budged $3.5 million for the project, but staff plans to seek approval from council for additional money to fund $3.7 million total in improvements at the Service Department buildings and grounds at 350 Park Meadow Road.

The recommended renovations will include increased vehicle storage, additional office space and landscaping near the new salt barn built in 2012.

The bids sought by the city on the project also included a facelift of the old building to match the expansion, a wash bay for city vehicles and entrance signs for the facility. But the nine bids received ranged from $4.3 to $4.9 million, and those elements were eliminated to reduce the cost, said Westerville Public Service Director Frank Wiseman.

The bids did not include security cameras or furniture for the facility, which are expected to cost $45,000 and $80,000, respectively, as those elements will be added next year after the expansion is completed, Wiseman said. That cost instead will be included in the city's 2014 budget, he said.

Some members of City Council asked city staff to explore the possibility of adding more elements to the expansion, as Wiseman said he felt the bids received were very competitive and the lowest the city may see for the projects.

Councilman Larry Jenkins said he would like to see the city include the facelift of the older portion of the facility this year, even if some of the architectural elements are eliminated to reduce the costs.

"That's seems like something if we don't do now, it's going to cost a lot more later," Jenkins said. "It's going to be something that's going to need to be done sooner or later."

Regardless of what exactly the expansion looks like, council Chairman Mike Heyeck said it's time to move forward on improving the service building.

"We've built this man a salt barn, now we've got to finish the rest of it," Heyeck said. "It's sorely in need of help, so this is really timely."

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