A new draft facilities master plan includes new department buildings on land recently purchased by the Island County. The plan is still in its early stages and designs for the new buildings likely won’t be made until next year. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

A new draft facilities master plan includes new department buildings on land recently purchased by the Island County. The plan is still in its early stages and designs for the new buildings likely won’t be made until next year. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

New plan outlines possible county shuffle

Offices for Island County departments may be completely reorganized, according to a new draft facilities master plan.

The draft 20-year plan, presented last week to the board of commissioners and department heads, includes new office space on First Street in Coupeville on land the county purchased earlier this year.

The idea, according to the consultants who presented the plan, will be to put “public-facing departments” in the new building. Offices for the board of commissioners, public works, planning, treasurer, assessor, IT, general services administration and human resources would move to the 5.4-acre property in phases. Phase one could include construction of a two-story, 36,000-square foot building near the existing human services building.

Larry Van Horn, facilities management director, said there are two driving factors to the new plan.

“One is that the county has reached a saturation point in terms of staffing space, so the county would benefit operationally,” Van Horn said. “The second is the customers, more importantly, would benefit from having better customer service delivery models at a new facility.”

He said the hope is that the public will find it easier to know where to go if most departments are at a central location.

The move would also free up space in the county’s annex building for new jail beds.

The plan allows for 88 total beds. Van Horn said a previous assessment of long-term needs identified 88 as the needed capacity if the county were to plan for The City of Oak Harbor deciding to close its jail. He said there hasn’t been an indication the city will do that, but he wants to be strategic in planning for the possibility. The jail’s current capacity is 58.

The plan’s concept would group the sheriff’s office, prosecuting attorney, public defenders, courts, the coroner and the elections office on the Main Street campus.

The plan offers a number of variations and options for additions and renovations on existing buildings. The architectural firm hired to draft the plan, NBBJ, projected county staff to grow by around 32 full time employees by 2036.

The plan is still in the early stages, Van Horn said, and costs haven’t been estimated yet. During last week’s meeting, Public Works Director Bill Oakes said the plan helps the county to work with the Town of Coupeville when determining if any major roadblocks will crop up throughout the process.

Van Horn said the plan is still in the development and renovation alternative stage of planning. Next, functional space will be evaluated and then cost estimates will be created.

According to the plan, ideally design of phase one of the First Street property would begin some time in 2019. However, the document still needs to be completed and approved by the board of commissioners.

Van Horn said he hopes to present the plan to the board in September.

More in News

Central Whidbey Fire takes part in canine rescue effort

Firefighters from South Whidbey Fire/EMS and Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue… Continue reading

Dead bunnies found | Island Scanner

The following items were selected from reports made to the Island County… Continue reading

Vandewerfhorst
Level 3 sex offender moves to South End

The Island County Sheriff’s Office is holding a meeting Monday to talk… Continue reading

Photos by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
                                Top: Harley Engle, from Coupeville, and her cow Scarlett.
                                Bottom: Lilly Kline, age 10, from Oak Harbor and her Texel sheep named Blossom.
Whidbey Island 4-H kids show livestock

Annual fair continues through Sunday

Webster on St. Olaf Dean’s List

HELENA WEBSTER, of Oak Harbor, daughter of Robert and Hope Webster, was… Continue reading

Islanders earn degrees from Washington State

The following Washington State University students from Whidbey Island earned undergraduate degrees… Continue reading

Field carrier landing practice schedule — July 23-29

Aircraft carrier-based flight training operations are scheduled for Ault Field the week… Continue reading

Town of Coupeville opens lot to parking

The Town of Coupeville is implementing three parking changes. The grass lot… Continue reading

Whidbey Island Fair begins on Thursday

Cattle, ducks, expert pie makers, an Elvis impersonator and 4-H kids will… Continue reading

Most Read