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City Hall: Is it going downtown, staying put or going on Industrial?
The Manteca Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St, now houses police as well as city hall offices. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The city is doing a top-to-bottom reassessment of all options including going forward with moving the Manteca Police into the former Qualex building at 555 Industrial Park Drive that was purchased by the Manteca Redevelopment Agency.  They are working with the consulting firm Group Four to complete the overview.

Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin said City Manager Steve Pinkerton shortly after he was hired was concerned that the city was moving forward on municipal housing plans without making sure it was the most effective and efficient way to go.

The Building Industry Association of the Delta’s lawsuit involving the government facilities fee effectively stopped work on converting the 57,000-square-foot former processing building in the Manteca Industrial Park for police use. Meanwhile, the fact that there are 14 vacant Manteca Police positions due to the looming deficit has taken some of the pressure off space at the existing 17,000-square-foot police headquarters at the Civic Center campus.

The options being explored include:

•relocating city hall to the downtown area and expanding police operations into the existing Civic Center offices.

•relocating city hall to the Qualex building and expanding police operations into existing Civic Center offices.

•building a multi-story office building on the Civic Center site.

•relocating police to the former Qualex building and expanding City Hall into the existing police space.

•looking to locate satellite offices such as for Parks and Recreation registration in the downtown area in conjunction with any of the other proposals.
Since the city acquired the Qualex site standards have increased for public safety buildings, One factor – the design of holding cells and required staffing – would be a big expense.

Deputy Public Works Director Jim Stone noted the city currently doesn’t have to comply with those new changes as they are grandfathered in. The holding cell changes, as one example, would require the adding of additional around the clock staffing that could run into $300,000 or more a year in additional operational costs.

By staying on the Civic Center site and expanding the police by shifting administrative staff into existing city hall offices Manteca avoids increased operational costs.

The reassessment includes annual operational costs as well as public access concerns.

McLaughlin noted the Qualex site for city hall “is kind of off the beaten path” but added so is the existing Civic Center complex.