The City of Ripon could be looking at a new corporate yard.
The facility at 339 Doak Boulevard lacks the necessary room for expansion not to mention accommodating room for the current staff.
“The corporate yard has many deficiencies,” said City Administrator Kevin Werner at the Oct. 8 workshop discussion on the Corporate Yard Preliminary Design. “Originally, there was a conservation of taking the existing site and expanding on it.”
According to Public Works Director Ted Johnston, the corporate yard was built in 1976 with two bays, a small office, breakroom and a facility for small engine work.
There were seven employees back then for a town with a population hovering around 3,500.
Ripon’s current population is 16,613 – the Bulletin reported last May – with growth within the next 10 years projected at 20,000.
The corporate yard has 28 full-time and six part-time employees. “Staff and equipment have outgrown the facility,” Johnston said.
He added: “Through the years, the building has been widened to accommodate the growing staff, but it still lacks the proper sanitary and maintenance needs for a facility.”
Enter Eric Wohle of LDA Partners & Architects.
He was recently hired to put together a design and costs for a new facility.
“In reviewing the current space, there’s not much room for current staff or growth,” said Wohle at the session held prior to the Ripon City Council meeting. “It is not worth putting money into an existing building that will still be functionally obsolete.”
He put together a slideshow presentation with a Phase I design consisting of a new operation and maintenance facility.
Wohle also shared a master plan with subsequent phases that could be rolled out in the future as Ripon continues to grow.
As for cost, he estimated the Phase I at $7.5 million – Werner indicated that capital cost for the entire new facility at $42 million not including any AB 1600 allocations otherwise known as development impact fees.
“This is a hefty tag for one facility, but if we wait to build it out in full, we will be waiting a long time,” he said, adding that the city has $700,000 in the corporate yard capital fund. “(Tonight) was about looking at the preliminary design and, from there, costs that can be adjusted once we commit to the design and materials.”
Mayor Leo Zuber and his colleagues agreed that this project is long overdue.
“We asked our Public Works employees to maintain the City to our standards – the space they have to work in is not OK,” Zuber said.
Vice Mayor Jake Parks asked about grant opportunities for this project, with Werner responding about the possibility of transit grants.
“Every year we wait, the costs will go up and the conditions are going to continue to deteriorate,” Zuber said.
Councilman Michael Restuccia made a request to see a timeline.
The budget committee can explore the finances along with input from elected leaders, Werner added.