CRESTVIEW — Okaloosa County’s current five-year capital improvement plan includes $1.9 million to develop a county water and sewer field offices project on Lewis Turner Boulevard in Wright.
The money is earmarked for the current fiscal year through fiscal 2021.
The planned project area encompasses three county-owned parcels where various water and sewer functions have long operated in a “hodgepodge” manner without proper storage and stormwater facilities, according to county Water and Sewer Department Director Jeff Littrell.
The County Commission on Dec. 4 approved paying $240,530 to AVCON Inc., which has an office in Niceville, for engineering, architectural and other pre-construction services for the field offices project.
County Commissioner Nathan Boyles said at the meeting that he wanted to make sure people understand that both the planning and the construction phases of the project would be paid for solely with revenue from water/sewer customers and not from the county’s half-cent sales tax, which takes effect Jan. 1.
The middle parcel at the project site currently contains a maintenance/logistics building, carpenter shop and the four-story Water and Sewer Administration Building.
The 20,000-square-foot administration building opened in March 1993 and often is referred to as the “Taj Mahal.” Besides housing water and sewer offices, it includes space for two First Judicial Circuit judges and the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel for Florida’s First District.
The judges soon will move to the new county courthouse in Crestview, which will increase the office space available in the administration building, Littrell said in a recent memo to the commission.
Initial plans call for consolidating the water and sewer administrative offices to the building’s first floor and leasing out available space on the upper three floors over the next several years. The carpenter shop would remain and the maintenance/logistics building would be converted to a logistics warehouse.
On the west parcel, two warehouse buildings would be demolished and a new building would house field offices for the engineering, water operations, meter team and supervisory control/data acquisition divisions. The space for the latter division would include a workshop where staff would build control panels.
“Many of the activities and storage issues planned for this (new west parcel building) cannot be accommodated in the existing (administration building),” according to Littrell.
Plans for the east parcel include demolition of an engineering trailer and construction of a new maintenance building.
The overall project also would include more parking spaces and new stormwater management facilities.