By Lorilyn Lirio
Lacey City Council approved Ordinance 1655, adopting key infrastructure plans for the city into its Comprehensive Plan on Tuesday, January 16.
The Lacey Government Facilities Master Plan evaluates the condition of city buildings and makes recommendations to address the long-term needs. Meanwhile, the 2023-2042 Capital Facilities Plan makes funding strategies for identified capital projects.
The government facilities addressed in the plans include the following:
Public Works operations headquarters on College Street
According to City Planning Manager Ryan Andrews, the government facilities master plan found that the Public Works operations headquarters facility is in fair condition but significantly undersized at approximately 65% of the needed size.
As a result, the plan noted that the city could not co-locate existing divisions at the site or accommodate the service growth needed by the community. Additionally, the high-value vehicle fleet is exposed to the weather at the site. There are also security concerns.
The recommendations to address the issues with the Public Works operations headquarters included acquiring adjacent property when feasible. Another suggestion was to redevelop the site efficiently to support future operations, proposing a multi-story crew building.
The plan found that the aging facility is in dire need of repair or replacement. Andrews said the facility was originally constructed as an office building and warehouse but then converted in the late 1990s to the current Animal Services Building.
The plan noted that activity adjacent to the Animal Services property presents a safety concern for staff due to homelessness and transient issues in the area. The utilities at the facility are failing, and require significant investment to maintain.
The recommendation for Animal Services was to coordinate with regional partners to address critical maintenance needs, acquire property, and construct a modern Animal Services Center. The plan states that if an appropriate new site cannot be acquired soon, the alternative is to develop and maintain operations at the current site by constructing a new building there.
Administration and Public Safety
Andrews said the City Hall is aging. The central and east wings require significant investment. As for public safety, the police need a new headquarters and training center, covered under a separate planning effort.
Andrews said the interim recommendation for city hall is to renovate the central wing area of the building to improve customer service, eliminate the long front counter, add meeting rooms, and maximize workstations to gain space needed for new employees over the next ten years.
The long-term recommendation for the city hall is to assess administration needs and consider options for the property vacated by the police station moving to a new facility.
Parks, Culture, and Recreation
The key findings on the two buildings are that the Senior Center functions well but is undersized, with a recommendation to expand it. The White House is found to be usable but has a limited program area and is used for storage. The plan recommended remodeling it to create more program and storage space.
Andrews added that there is also a recommendation to build the new Lacey Museum and Cultural Center.
The plan evaluated around 17 city facilities, comprising 211,500 square feet across Lacey.
According to Andrews, the city has historically underinvested in facility maintenance, spending only about $600,000 annually over the last ten years, which is around 35% below industry standard. The government facilities plan recommends increasing maintenance spending over five-year increments to reach recommended funding levels by 2040.
The plans prioritized going through a process to identify budget reserves for facilities, exploring funding options for parks and other functions, pursuing grants for the Emergency Operations Center, and updating utilities ratepayer studies to include facilities funding.
The other part of the approved ordinance is the updated capital facilities plan. Andrews noted that the CFP required a significant overhaul, as the city had been using a template last updated in the early 1990s and had yet to adopt a revised capital facilities plan since 2019, resulting in an outdated template and plan.
The updated plan contained an introduction and six chapters organized by functional categories. It populated projects from source plans such as the government facilities master plan, parks plan, transportation plan, and utility plans. The projects were each described with anticipated expenditures and funding sources.
Mayor Andy Ryder said the infrastructure plans approved through Ordinance 1655 “is an important step that would lay the groundwork for developing a financial plan to meet Lacey’s long-term needs.”