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Whitefish Bay rethinking new DPW building

Village aiming for tax-neutral design

April 16, 2013

Whitefish Bay - Village trustees may pony up for a new Department of Public Works building to move staffers out of the nearly century-old horse barn the village rents now.

The Village Board on Monday approved a $20,000 payment to a partnership of Kenosha-based Riley Construction and Milwaukee firms Stephen Perry Smith Architects and Pierce Engineering to design a new DPW building at the intersection of Fairmount and Lydell avenues.

In February the Village Board voted to remove an approximately $4.5 million version of the new building from the 2013 capital budget, saying the cost was too high in light of the approximately $100 million the village will spend in the next 15 years for an extensive stormwater and sewer overhaul. Trustees in February charged Village Manager Patrick DeGrave with the task of coming up with a DPW building design which, when factoring in debt repayment for the project, would cost the village less than it would otherwise pay in rent. DeGrave said Monday the new goal is to design an approximately $3.5 million building, which would be around the break-even point in relation to rental costs and, as a result, be taxpayer neutral.

"The most important part (of the design) will be that qualified estimate," DeGrave told the village board, "what it will cost to build it."

John Mann, serving as an Owner's Representative for the village, said he is confident the project can come in at or under budget.

"I would not sit here in front of you and say let's spend $20,000 on (the design work) if I didn't think we have a really good chance of getting this project done with the quality we want, the functionality we want, at the price we want," Mann said.

With the funding for design approved, the village board will field a later update of plans and renderings that can be used to solicit construction estimates.

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