The cost to remodel a former warehouse facility in the city of Waupaca to turn it into a public works facility is estimated at $4.3 million.
The Waupaca Common Council learned that when it met Tuesday, Dec. 3.
“The building is structurally in good shape. We didn’t see anything that would prevent it from being retrofitted and added on to for a public works facility. Overall, it is a viable option to convert it to a public works facility,” said Kelly Claflin, a project manager for Keller, Inc., of Kaukauna.
The city contracted with the firm to inspect the 20,000-square-foot Churny Cheese building which is located at 450 Industrial Drive.
Constructed in 1979, the pre-engineered metal building sits on an approximate five-acre parcel.
The analysis also includes a 16,324-square-foot addition.
The Churny Cheese facility is the second building the city has evaluated as a possible site for its public works facility.
The first was the approximately 41,000-square-foot vacant Affinia Brake Parks building in the city’s Business and Technology Park.
The cost to purchase and remodel that building, which was constructed around 2001, is estimated at $5.2 million.
That proposal was presented to the council in July.
It would cost about $6 million for the city to construct a new building.
The space needs for a public works facility dictate about 40,000 square feet.
In presenting the information about the Churny Cheese building, Claflin said, “John (Edlebeck, the city’s director of public works) told us this just has to be a functional building, not an extravagant building. It meets the needs that came out of the space assessment.”
The $4.3 million estimate from Keller, Inc. includes $800,000 to remodel the existing 20,000-square-foot building, $1.7 million to build the 16,324-square-foot addition, $478,450 for site work, $501,400 for exterior structures, $130,000 for architectural fees, $360,000 for contractor fees and $266,500 for owner furnished equipment.
Claflin said the estimate assumes the project would take place in 2014.
Since he does not know the city’s plans, he said if the project were to begin later than that, the prices would have to increase for inflation.
Mayor Brian Smith told the council the next step is for city staff to put together a five-year capital plan, which will be presented in January.
“At this time, it was my suggestion for staff to include the public works facility in the five-year capital plan. Put it in and see how it will plan out in our projections,” he said. “The biggest thing we found out tonight is there is a savings going with the Kraft building. I don’t think it is as much of a savings as some might have originally thought.”
Smith said the advantages of various sites will continue to be discussed.
“I think it is best to decide whether we want this project in the five-year plan,” the mayor said.
Ald. Jillian Petersen asked if the project could be done in phases to stretch out the payback period.
“If we decide to purchase this building, I don’t think there is any advantage to phase it, if we can afford to do it,” Edlebeck said.
Claflin said construction costs increase when a project is done in phases. “You get better prices when you do it all at once,” he said.
Smith said they have all asked that question.
The buildings the Public Works Department continues to work out of have been toured by members of the council and are not in good shape, he said.
Currently, the city’s Public Works Department, along with the Parks Maintenance Department, operates out of five buildings.
The buildings are located throughout the central and east side of the city, with the average age of the buildings being 63 years old.
The need to address the Public Works and Parks facilities was raised as part of the 1999 City Facilities Study.
Ald. Deb Fenske asked Edlebeck about his preference.
He would prefer a new a structure, he said, because the city could design it exactly as it wants.
Of the two facilities which have been evaluated, Edlebeck said, “I think we could work out of either one. Many cities don’t even have the opportunity to look at a used facility. I think we’ve had a couple facilities available and tried to compare apples to apples. I think these could work long term for us.”
Smith said, “As much as we need it, we have to be able to afford it. Hopefully, we can do it within the five-year period and hopefully before that. But, we have to look at the projections and make sure it fits.”