City Council approves Utilities Authority office expansion

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A speaker at a council meeting would see the following view of the councilors in the council hearing room. Speakers must fill out paperwork, available on the city website, to make a public comment.

The city council voted 5-0 Monday night to approve the Utilities Authority office expansion project.

Twelve people were present, and none of them commented on the item. It was a quick, 10-minute approval by the council.

Councilman John Wedlake spoke about why the project needs to be done.

“The last time anything was done to that building was in 1976,” Wedlake said. “Things have changed a lot in Stillwater since 1976, both in terms of the utility need and the workforce. This was a pretty easy approval by the council.”

Electric Utility Director Loren Smith reiterated the importance of the expansion.

“It’s a project we’ve been working on for a while,” Smith said. “We’re trying to update it to improve our staff working experience. There are approximately 45 employees that work there and for them to have adequate space to work and do their jobs is very helpful.”

Councilwoman Amy Dzialowski explained her reasoning to approve the project.

“We certainly support them getting the space that they need, and I love that they’re renovating a space as opposed to go finding a new space when they have all the infrastructure and everything they need there,” Dzialowski said.

Vice Mayor Pat Darlington added to the purpose of supporting the motion.

“As well as doing the inside and making it useable as an office building, the outside of the building needs to have a plan and a budget for clean up,” Darlington said. “We have the ability to set the tone for how our buildings look and show respect for the businesses in the city.”

Dzialowski agreed.

“I think it’s important that as a city our city buildings are a reflection of what we want the rest of our community to look like,” Dzialowski said. “If we hold our community to a higher standard then we certainly should hold ourselves to a higher standard.”

The renovation will cost $334,840. Three proposed phases are included in the renovation report.

The first phase involves building a second floor platform.

The second phase involves constructing two enclosures. One on the first floor and one underneath the platform built in phase one.

The third phase involves adding another platform on the second floor going from the platform in phase one to the electric warehouse.

According to the report, the approval now authorizes the staff to proceed with the architect and engineering services required for the project.

Construction bid awards will follow once those services are completed.