PORT TOWNSEND — Renovation of the Jefferson County Public Utility District main office is expected to start in November.
PUD commissioners approved a $3.27 million contract with Hoch Construction of Port Angeles at their Oct. 7 meeting.
Construction is expected to be completed by late 2020, with the PUD moving into it in early 2021, said Will O’Donnell, Public Utility District (PUD) communications manager.
The PUD’s remodel and expansion project will add 4,600 additional square feet of meeting and office space to the agency’s main operations center at 310 Four Corners Road, O’Donnell said.
The PUD moved into the building — which was constructed in the 1970s — in 2013 when the agency took over the Puget Sound Energy (PSE) electrical utility in East Jefferson County.
Renovation planning began in 2015, said Kevin Streett, PUD general manager.
“We inherited this building from PSE when we bought the electrical system,” Streett said. “It’s 40 years old and it was too small when we moved in.
“We’ve been needing to add on for a while. I’m very pleased we’re moving forward.”
The PUD currently has about 50 full-time employees, O’Donnell said.
The project is funded by the PUD’s cash reserves, an expense that was factored into the 2020 budget, which was approved last Tuesday.
Hoch Construction’s bid of $3.275 million was well within the project’s budget of $4.25 million that the PUD had set with the assistance of its architect, TCF Architects of Tacoma. It was also the lowest qualified bid, O’Donnell said.
The construction area already has been vacated by PUD employees, who are operating out of other PUD buildings. That includes a temporary portable building for the customer service department at 210 Four Corners Road.
“We’re very excited,” O’Donnell said. “We used to be split between four buildings throughout the county. Now, we’ll be in three at one campus.”
The PUD will close its satellite administrative office in Port Hadlock after the facility has been completed. The office currently houses the PUD’s billing and engineering departments.
The updated facility will allow commissioners to have their own meeting room instead of renting out rooms from the Transit Authority or Chimacum Fire Station, for example, O’Donnell said.
“We have our board meetings all over the place and that is really challenging,” O’Donnell said.
“According to the plans drawn up by TCF,” O’Donnell said via press release, “the new addition will extend west from the main entrance and out to the customer and employee parking area of the 310 Four Corners facility.
“The addition will house an expanded customer service lobby, including a customer seating area and bathroom.”
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].