A nearly two-decades long plan by Kent city leaders to build a Kent East Hill Operations Center took a major step.
The City Council approved a $5.42 million bid on Sept. 5 by Lakew00d-based Corona Steel Inc. for a pre-engineered metal building to provide additional space for Public Works and Parks Department operations and employees.
“This is very exciting for this phase of the project,” said Will Moore, city facilities superintendent, in his report to the council. “Four members of our team worked very hard to get to this point. It’s a big moment for us.”
The bid award consists of furnishing all labor, materials and other incidentals for the structural design, fabrication, delivery to the site and erection of a complete pre-engineered metal building, according to city documents. The facility will be approximately 80,000 square feet.
The project includes the structural frame, the exterior wall and roof panels and the integral insulation. It will include miscellaneous sheet metal trim and accessories. The facility will be built on a city-owned, 22-acre site, just south of Southeast 248th Street and across from Clark Lake Park near 124th Avenue Southeast.
Costs will be covered by the American Rescue Plan Act, relief funds from the federal government given to the city to combat the cost impacts of COVID-19.
Four companies submitted bids that ranged up to $6.28 million. Corona Steel submitted the lowest bid of $4.9 million. With taxes, the cost shoots up to $5.4 million. The city engineer’s estimate was $5.5 million.
“It’s almost right to the engineer’s estimate which is very good to see,” Moore said.
Mayor Dana Ralph was pleased to see the project moving forward.
”This building, shops up on the East Hill, has been a need and in planning for a couple of decades,” Ralph said. “I have been hearing our crews talk about this for the longest time. The shops in the Valley for Parks and Public Works were outgrown decades ago, and the conditions are not fabulous. …there is no space to park.
“To see us get to this point and the council’s support for the project, I cannot tell you what it means for our crews to see this happen. It’s a much-needed thing. This is a great day. The folks taking care of our city everyday are very grateful we are taking this step.”
The aging city maintenance shop is at Russell Road and South 240th Street. City officials plan to continue to use that facility in conjunction with the new center.
The council in February approved a $2.46 million contract with Seattle-based Wagner Architects and Planners for design, permitting, bidding and construction phase services for the East Hill project.
Groundbreaking is currently projected to be in the second quarter of 2024, according to a Sept. 20 email from Brian Levenhagen, deputy director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, which oversees city facilities.
“We are still in the process of finalizing design, permitting and plan to go out to bid for a general contractor over the next four months,” Levenhagen said.
If all goes as planned, the Kent East Hill Operations Center could open in two years or so.
“We are hoping to open the facility by late 2025 or early 2026,” Levenhagen said.