Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at email@example.com.
Anaheim City Council members on Tuesday are expected to consider authorizing construction of two new buildings for the city’s public utility, at a total cost of $13 million.
The deal is for Los Angeles-based firm John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects, Inc., to design a utilities crew quarters building along with a $2.2 million sustainability education center.
The construction of the two buildings is estimated to cost a total of $13 million.
Anaheim Public Utilities is asking for updated utilities quarters since the facility currently does not meet the city’s building codes. It is a 44-year-old building that is showing heavy signs of wear, according to a staff report.
Furthermore, city staff argue there is an increasing need to help customers prepare for the future as the utility industry is starting to meet more rigorous standards regarding power, water lights, and appliance sustainability. The Sustainability Education Center function will be to inform residents about how they can contribute to increasing sustainability.
Anaheim Public Utilities is a non-profit utility owned by the city. An appointed citizen advisory Public Utilities Board votes and sends its input and proposals directly to the City Council.
The first of the buildings to be built is currently a reconstructed crew utilities facility that occupies the Edwards Utilities Complex on 201 S. Anaheim Blvd. The existing crew quarters do not meet current workspace needs and building codes. The new building would be better equipped to handle warehouse materials and equipment as well as providing space for safety training, according to a city staff report.
An Anaheim Public Utilities survey conducted in 2017 concluded rehabilitation of the building would be too time consuming and not cost effective, so the utility is recommending that a brand new building be built on the same parcel.
The old building would be demolished and turned into a parking garage or storage space.
A second building would be a new sustainability education center that will host events that showcase new technologies. Anaheim Public Utilities wants this site to replace the rundown, 63-year-old building it currently owns on Rose Place and Vermont Avenue, according to the staff report.
Events to be held at the center would include sustainability workshops, student engagement activities, and job training for the utility industry. The building also would include training facilities for water and efficiency devices, security lighting, electric vehicle chargers and high efficiency appliances.
In the future, the city’s utility wants to explore partnerships with agencies that would be willing to provide educational programming and/or job training in the center.
If approved by the City Council, construction would begin in fall 2021 and finish in spring 2023. The panel is set to meet at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 200 S. Anaheim Blvd.