City Council tours north campus

Laramie City Councilor Dave Paulekas discusses the challenges of Laramie’s mosquito control facility with Laramie Parks and Recreation Director Todd Feezer and Councilor Klaus Hanson on Tuesday during the City Council work session.

IKE FREDREGILL/Boomerang staff

The Laramie City Council toured Laramie’s fleet maintenance facilities Tuesday to acquaint councilors with the Laramie Public Works Division’s need for better working conditions, Mayor Andi Summerville said.

As part of the council’s work session, councilors visited various facilities used for housing and maintaining a significant portion of the city’s fleet.

At each stop along the city’s four block stretch of vehicle maintenance and storage facilities on Fourth Street, city staff pointed out myriad problems regarding storage, vehicle maintenance and employee amenities, such as bathrooms and Americans with Disabilities Act approved access.

“Ventilation is a real issue,” Laramie City Manager Janine Jordan said, standing in the Laramie Streets Division fleet maintenance building. “It’s bi-vehicle ventilation, and it’s really not optimal.”

Councilors walked through maintenance bays crammed so tightly with vehicles they had to squeeze through the gaps between bumpers during the tour.

In the Laramie Parks and Recreation Department Parks shop, Parks Manager Scott Hunter explained the small garage houses up to 30 employees during the summer.

“Myself and four others share an office,” he said, standing in a room about the size of a backyard shed.

Public Works Director Earl Smith said several of the city’s fleet vehicles are stored outdoors, which increases wear and causes engine problems during the winter.

“Storing vehicles outside in the cold sometimes makes it impossible to start them,” Laramie Solid Waste Manager Brooks Webb said. “There’s not enough room in the solid waste garage for all our vehicles, so three are stored outdoors at all times.”

On the opposite side of the solid waste building, Laramie Utility Division Manager Cal Van Zee showed councilors an outdoor pipe rack used to store PVC water and sewer line.

“The one thing that deteriorates PVC is (ultraviolet) radiation — sunlight,” Van Zee said.

Councilors and city staff crossed Fourth Street and stopped in at a newer facility used to house the city’s paint shop and mosquito control department.

“Anytime we park equipment, it has to be parked inside or water and chemicals stored on the vehicles could freeze,” Laramie Mosquito Crew Supervisor Keith Wardlaw said as councilors filled the gaps between five trucks parked in space that appeared to be suited for about three full-size pickups. “We can actually get six in here if we do a bit of rearranging.”

After visiting Laramie’s current city fleet facilities, councilors headed out to WyoTech’s former north campus, the proposed location of Laramie’s new mobile service center.

As councilors and city staff members visited several buildings, Smith explained some of the benefits of consolidating several city departments in a single compound.

“One of the biggest things for me is I have staff scattered all over the place,” he said. “We communicate over the phone and email, but nothing replaces that face-to-face interaction. Consolidation will improve team unity and customer service.”

Jordan pointed out ADA-accessible bathrooms and entryways on the campus as well as the space to build locker rooms for both men and women, which some current facilities lack.

“The efficiencies of combining the departments on one campus include fuel savings and reduced wear and tear on the vehicles,” she said.

The project is slated to cost about $9.8 million and the city could close on purchasing the north campus property by the end of the year, Smith said.

Although acquiring the north campus would require extensive remodeling and retrofitting of the existing buildings, Jordan said it would still be cheaper and faster than starting from scratch and building a new facility.

“Ideally, we could begin construction in January and be in (the new facility) half-way through 2018,” Smith said.

(6) comments

Ernest Bass

From city Budget - FY2014-2015 & FY 2015-2016 Biennium:
Public Works Service Center: $6,000,000

So, the brain trust at the city hasn’t even chosen a location for a new Public Works Service Center yet the price has already jumped from $6,000,000 to $9,800,000? A 63% increase in cost in just one year. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to exactly how much it will eventually cost? (remember the city hall remodel project that came in 100% over budget?)

wyo is home

But, but, it will be cheaper and faster to use an existing building.

Ernest Bass

Agreed. A real bargain at any price.

Ernest Bass

“The efficiencies of combining the departments on one campus include fuel savings and reduced wear and tear on the vehicles,” she (Jordan) said.

Moving the facility from its current in-town location to one that is two miles north and out of town would save fuel? Janine thinks Laramie citizens are stupid and would believe anything she says.

Royal Coachman

While your hatred of Ms. Jordan blinds you, you ought to once in a while at least think before you post. Yes, indeed, being closer to the landfill is more efficient.

Ernest Bass

You are correct. The proposed location is geographically closer to the landfill. However, if you are going to compare driving distances using Google Earth, you will find that the former WyoTech facility is 3.5 miles (turning on Beaufort St. to Ninth) from the landfill and the current Public Works facility is 2.9 miles (turning on Reynolds St. to Ninth) away from the landfill. The drive to the landfill from the potential new facility is longer than the drive from the current facility. See? I do think before I post. Exactly how is being physically closer but a longer drive from the two facilities qualify as “more efficient”? Care to explain that?

And, I don’t hate Janine. I hate the way she recklessly and wastefully spends taxpayer money.

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