Public Works Facility Ground Breaking
Camrose, AB – The City of Camrose has been planning and saving for the Public Works Facility expansion for over 10 years and on August 25th, 2021, finally broke ground on this major project. “This project has been a long time coming,” Mayor Mayer stated at the groundbreaking. “We’ve extended the life of this building as much as possible. It is time to give our equipment and our people an appropriate workspace.
The current site had reached its end of life in both infrastructure stability and capacity for operations. Originally the concept had been to do a two phased project over a couple years, however the City was able to find efficiencies in doing one combined build. “The original intent was to construct the shop portion of the facility first in order to alleviate fleet maintenance concerns. However, the cost savings associated with constructing both the shop and office simultaneously were too significant to ignore,” City Manager, Malcolm Boyd stated.
Housing approximately 60 full-time and seasonal employees, the 51 Avenue Public Works Facility is the primary location for the City’s Public Works operations. “Over the years, the City has outgrown its existing building and currently also operates two satellite PW yards for storage of various fleet and materials,” Boyd stated. “The existing shop and office at the 51 Avenue site was built in the 1960’s, and has been renovated and expanded through multiple projects since that time. It has required increasing levels of maintenance and is not large enough to accommodate some of our larger equipment.”
Council has considered many options for this project over the years including renovation, expansion, and relocation to another site. Each of these options presented significant risks. Renovation or expansion options presented risks around the management of hazardous material, such as lead paint and asbestos. Expansion options were also limited by the existing building constraints. Relocation to another site would have resulted in sterilizing the productive use of the existing site and removed a potentially valuable serviced industrial site from the marketplace for other businesses wishing to develop in Camrose. “In the end,” stated Boyd, “rebuilding on the existing site and repurposing the existing facility for storage was deemed to be the best long term solution for the City of Camrose.”
The new facility will include the construction of a 17,100 sq ft maintenance shop and 9,217 sq ft office building as well as upgrading the utility services and landscaping to allow for better storm water management. The construction will also require the relocation of the bulk water station. “We are moving the bulk water station to the Water Treatment Plant at 3701 50 Street,” stated Kris Johnson, the General Manager of Infrastructure at the City. “The new site will allow for better access to and from the bulk water station and will be conveniently located on 50 Street, only 500m north of Camrose Drive.”
Additionally, this new facility project will include landscaping and other related work to improve the aesthetics of this facility, which is located adjacent to multiple older residential developments. This project will involve the removal and/or relocation of various on-site facilities, including and existing cold-storage facility and will involve some minor changes to the existing office and shop facilities to free up space for material and equipment storage.
The final design also includes the installation of a 125kW solar panel array, with the opportunity to apply for federal funding to help offset the cost, and a sizable heat recovery ventilation system and optimized building envelop to ensure that the facility exceeds the National Energy Code for Buildings requirements.
“This facility has been designed to provide a low maintenance, safe and functional operating center for the various public works departments for decades to come,” Boyd stated. “This includes, Roads, Utilities, Controls and Fleet. The design also includes room for growth and should eliminate the need for additional PW facility infrastructure for the next 40 years.”
In order to comply with the City’s procurement policy, as well as the Provincial trade agreements, this Design-Bid-Build project went through a rigorous open tender process. A total of 17 bids were received and evaluated based on categories such as relevant team experience, proposed project methodology, estimated costs and construction management costs. The Camdon / LEDCOR partnership was ultimately selected as the team to work with on this project.
Ledcor’s Mike Roper added, “We are really excited about the partnership with Camdon and the City of Camrose on this. In the communities that we live and work we always like to team up with local sub-contractors as much as we can, and we have been able to do that with this project.”
During the sub-contractors recruitment phase of the project, the City reached out directly to approximately 100 local trades and service providers to encourage them to put forth their qualifications for work on the project. “We did significant local advertising and directly contacted local contractors to make sure they were aware of the project and had the information required to put their company forward,” Boyd stated. This work has paid dividends with much of the project work being subcontracted to local contractors.
Border Paving’s Dallas Pyzik stated, “We are very excited to work with the City and other local contractors for a successful project and be able to contribute to our community.”
The groundbreaking was attended by the Mayor, representatives from Council and City Administration as well as Executives and Project Managers from both Camdon Construction and Ledcor. Camdon Construction Parter Scott McQuaig stated.” Camdon appreciates the opportunity to partner with Ledcor and to work in the City of Camrose.“
Also in attendance were local contractors Border Paving, NuEdge Construction, Dee-Jay Plumbing and Heating, and CEL Contractors. Titan Steel sent their regrets. Approximately 30-40% of the project is sub-contracted work. “It was a priority for the City of Camrose that we provide as much work as possible to our local contractors,” stated Mayor Mayer.
The total cost of the project is $11 million, with approximately half being funded by water utility reserves and half through General Infrastructure reserves. “We knew this project was needed, and had included it as part of our 10 year capital plan,” said Mayor Mayer. “It was important to Council to complete this project without borrowing and being required to pay for the building and interest for years to come.”