OCEAN PARK — The North Beach Water District broke ground earlier this month on a new building that will consolidate the district’s management, customer service and operations and maintenance department into a single location.
The move will make the district more efficient, said Bill Neal, NDWD general manager.
Currently, the district rents office space on Vernon Avenue in Ocean Park, and is not cramped for space there. But, Neal said, in that office, he is removed from where the rest of the crew works. There were also costs to consider: While the District was renting office space on Vernon Avenue, it owned land off 272nd Street, the district’s North Wellfield site.
“So we’re renting this space while we own property over there,” Neal explained.
Also, said NBWD commissioner Glenn Ripley, in a statement Aug. 7, “Time spent driving from the North Wellfield to the business office several times a day will be eliminated from day one.”
“One of the board’s goals is to find long-term solutions to issues such as managerial inefficiencies, operational inefficiencies and adequate asset management,” said NBWD commissioner Brian Sheldon. “This new facility will go a long way in achieving that goal for the district.”
The new building, designed by Long Beach architect David Jensen, will include 2,200 square feet of office space (including a 680 square foot multi-purpose meeting room) as well as 3,450 square feet of storage space for vehicles, equipment, tools, materials and supplies.
“The new facility will improve the customer service experience for ratepayers by providing greater privacy when communicating with district employees regarding their account,” Neal said.
There will also be a drive-up box for ratepayers to drop off payments.
Ryan Helligso of Helligso Construction Company has been hired. Neal said the buidling will take about four months to complete. The contracted amount to build the new building is $753,419.
Neal said the cost will not be passed onto NBWD customers in the form of raised rates. In fact, he explained, projections for future rates show that, in the next six years, rates will only raise to account for inflation, or about 2 percent. For the last six years, increases have come in at about 2.2 percent, he said.