County building needs fixing

In addition to moving into its new administration building and renovating the current Courthouse into a law and justice center, Kitsap County will also be forced to undertake repairs on a relatively new public building with some serious design and construction flaws.

The Public Works Building, opened in 1992, has always suffered leaks and water damage. The county attempted several short-term solutions before tracing the leaks to the building face, which is built from a material suited for dry weather.

Additionally, several windows were installed upside down or backwards.

Parks, Recreation and Facilities Director Mark Mauren said the blame for the inadequate surface falls on the architect who designed the building and the county officials who accepted the proposal.

The windows, he said, were a contractor issue. Still, all actions are beyond the statute of limitations, making legal action impossible.

Mauren said there are several options available, both for the building repair and relocation of employees during that process.

One option is to fix the building incrementally, or only repair the sides that are most susceptible to rain.

The cheapest option is to repair the southwest side, for about $400,000 to $500,000. This along with the complete south side, will cost $1.2 million, and a complete repair is estimated at $2.1 million.

The personnel allocation is also flexible, and would make use of space vacated by other planned moves. Part of the Givens Center will be available, as will the basement of the Bullard Building next to the Courthouse.

Space vacated in the current Courthouse would probably not be used for this purpose, to keep current renovation plans on track. And employees could be moved out in shifts, only from the part of the building that is currently under renovation.

The three-story building houses employees from Public Works, Personnel and Human Services and the Department of Community Development. Public Works Director Randy Casteel acknowledged the inconvenience to some employees but said “we will make it work.” 

“We have mixed feelings,” said Personnel Director Burt Furuta. “We’re happy to get this done, but it’s been demoralizing to have to vacuum up water and deal with the mold problem. But we need to do this.”

Mauren said he hoped to begin the renovations over the summer, to take advantage of the expected dry weather.

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