The building that will serve as the new home for Public Works is, for now, a wide-open space.
City hires architect to turn 68K square feet into functional space
COVINGTON, Ky. – The planned new home for Covington’s Public Works Department – for the time being – looks like a concrete slab with metal walls and roof.
To turn the 68,000-plus-square-foot building into efficient, functional space, one that serves as a base for the critical job of maintaining the physical infrastructure of the city, the Covington Board of Commissioners voted in a special meeting Tuesday night to hire Hub+Weber Architects.
“It’s the right size and the right location, but now we have to turn it into useable space,” said Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith, whose department is assisting with the project. “The crews at Public Works work hard to maintain Covington’s physical infrastructure, and we want to make sure their new home reflects the value the City puts on their services.”
The City bought the building at 1730 Russell St. for $2.65 million after agreeing to sell the existing complex on the southern end of Boron Drive in Latonia to Rumpke Waste & Recycling for the company’s new Northern Kentucky headquarters.
The Russell Street site consists of 3.68 acres tucked up against the CSX Transportation railroad tracks and was the former home of Cincinnati Tag & Supply.
Hub+Weber will work with City officials to design both the interior and exterior of the building to accommodate the Department, its 60-70 employees (a number that fluctuates with seasonal hires), vehicle fleet, equipment, and road salt dome.
The $142,600 contract has three parts:
- Designing the space and creating architectural renderings.
- Turning the designs into drawings for use in securing building permits, bidding the construction contract, and doing the work on the building.
- Administration of the construction project.
Smith said the City chose Hub+Weber because it’s a Covington firm with a good track record on other City contracts and because it’s familiar with the site, having completed a space/needs assessment before the City’s purchase to make sure it was big enough.
Smith said the City hoped to go out for construction bids in about three months and move Public Works into the building in late 2021, although that timeline is a rough estimate.
“We can move through this process pretty quickly,” he said.
Public Works Director Chris Warneford said he and others at the department looked forward to the move.
“Our current home is on the same property as the (trash) transfer station,” he said. “If you have ever been to the existing Public Works facility during a 90-degree summer day, you would understand our excitement.”
Warneford said that when the new building is finished, Public Works would likely move its different divisions in stages to eliminate any potential negative impact on its ability to serve the public.
About Public Works:
- The Public Works Department maintains the City’s streets and sidewalks, parks, facilities and fleet; and urban tree canopy.
- Operations include filling potholes; paving road surfaces: repairing sidewalks, curbs, and catch basins; sweeping streets; plowing snow; collecting leaves; cutting grass and weeds; pruning, removing and planting trees; fixing playground equipment; and repair and maintenance of police cruisers; fire trucks; and dump trucks.
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