Monte’s new public works building nearly finished

Montesano’s new Public Works Building is nearly complete with a move-in date expected by April.

The new facility is spacious with multiple doors. It’s also completely heated, with six heaters next to various doors. Montesano Public Works Director Rocky Howard noted that as soon as one of the giant garage doors opens, everything has been programmed to turn off.

“The last thing we want to do is pay to heat Grays Harbor,” Howard said. “There’s also plenty of insulation so that it’s all about efficiency. The heat is needed to control rust on our equipment.”

Howard noted that new state rules about energy efficiency require the insulation and the heating standards.

“Otherwise, the fear is we’ll build it all without insulation and then just bring in portable heaters, which could cost even more money in the end,” he said.

Beyond the storage space for a variety of vehicles and heavy equipment, the facility has also been built so that a mechanic can work on equipment indoors. There’s also a couple spots outdoors for equipment that doesn’t need a heated space.

Instead of paving every corner of the property, gravel was used in some spots. Some of the ground is also the equivalent of mud, which still needs to be fixed.

“That’s on the to-do list,” Howard said.

At one point, the building was to be designed as a giant L shape with even more storage space. But Montesano Mayor Ken Estes, in conjunction with his city council members, scrapped those plans to save money. The building resembles a straight I shape now.

“But we could expand later if we needed to,” Howard said. “We left that possibility to expand the footprint.”

“We didn’t need the big, elaborate building right now,” Estes said. “It just didn’t pencil out.”

The facility will house eight employees working for Public Works and Forestry. The biggest thing to be done to the building before April is to finish the office space, Howard said.

Several Montesano city officials recently got a sneak peak inside the new digs, which will be home to multiple pieces of equipment currently all shoved “inside the equivalent of a one-door shack,” quipped Howard.

Montesano City Councilman Chris Hutchings, who was on the tour, pointed out that the electrical work done to help the building could also one day be used to extend out to the fields at Beacon Park.

Howard said that the budget remains $1.89 million. Contractor Rognlins of Aberdeen won the $1.48 million back in June of last year. But add in engineering, inspection costs and other change orders and the costs have risen.

“We may get close to the budgeted limit by the time everything is done, but I don’t expect to exceed it,” Howard said Friday.

The building is being paid for using the city’s timber revenue, garnered from logging activity in the city-owned forest.

“We’ve been able to do all this with no increase of taxes, not even on the water bill,” Estes said.