After years of waiting for the right circumstances to proceed, Calaveras County Water District administrators broke ground Tuesday on a new $3 million headquarters in San Andreas.
“If anybody’s ever visited our (present) headquarters, you’ll recognize why we’ve needed it for 20 years,” said CCWD President Don Stump. “The building’s so old that the maintenance costs are getting to be outrageous.”
District representatives have repeatedly stated that their offices on St. Charles Street are more than 40 years old and contain hazardously deficient wiring, a leaky roof and cramped quarters.
The district Board of Directors once hoped to break ground on the new building in February 2011. After construction bids came in higher than a $3.8 million budget provided through a combination of U.S. Department of Agriculture grants and loans, staff recalculated and determined an internal borrowing plan would save money in the long-term and remove burdensome federal regulations that would have prevented the use of most local contractors.
Directors approved that plan and Stump said the district has been able to take advantage of low land and building costs during a prolonged economic slump.
Director Bob Dean said research prior to the housing bubble burst estimated a new HQ would cost about $11.4 million.
“Now we’re doing it for $3 million,” Dean said. “I think that’s huge. It makes all the difference in the world. The lack of (Americans With Disabilities Act) compliance and potential for injury could have cost us that much just in liability.”
Dean added the board can now declare surplus two land parcels it owns to help recoup some of the project costs.
Simile Construction of Modesto is the leading builder and designer of the project at George Reed Drive and Toma Court across from the Resource Connection Food Bank and is expected to use numerous Calaveras-based subcontractors.
“We’re really excited about the local participation,” Simile President Guy Simile said.
Subcontractors are based in every corner of the county and include K.W. Emerson and George Reed of San Andreas; Distinctive Metals, Pinnel’s Carpet One, Rolleri Landscape and Calaveras Lumber of Angels Camp; Tom Jordan Construction of Murphys; Saul’s Plumbing and Cabinets and More of Arnold; Aire Serv of Valley Springs; and Cisco Fire Protection of Copperopolis.
Construction will last for the next several months.