Wednesday, December 13, 2006

County Plan Gets More Funds

County Plan Gets More Funds
By Erin Pursell/Staff Writer

An additional $9.3 million was approved Tuesday for South County Government Center projects by the Solano County Board of Supervisors, bringing funding to $52.4 million.
The additional dollars for the center - involving construction in Vallejo and Fairfield - are needed mainly due to increases in prices of materials and departmental needs identified during planning phases, according to County Architect Kanon Artiche.

"We make conceptual assumptions as we begin the project," he said. "As we learn more about the extent and kind of space needed, that translates into revised costs."

Under a revised project scope, also approved by the supervisors, the main component - a 70,000-square-foot health and social services facility - has been reduced to 65,000 square feet.

Even though more expensive components might be required, the needs of the more than 30 different groups affected by the project can be met with slightly less space, Artiche explained.

Meetings were held during the programming phase with the affected groups to help identify those needs.

As outlined in the South County Master Plan, the project includes three major facets:

• a 65,000-square-foot facility in Vallejo to house health and social services, offices for county supervisors and veterans' affairs;

• a 30,000-square-foot facility on Beck Avenue in Fairfield to house the Public Health Laboratory and Clinic and a forensics lab overseen by the District Attorney;

• improvements to a county health and social services facility on Courage Drive in Fairfield that will continue to house health and social services, and improvements on two buildings on Tuolumne Street in Vallejo housing court-related agencies and health and social services.

"It's a pretty thorough renovation," Artiche said of plans for improving the Vallejo facility. "It needs a major overhaul."

The new facility in Fairfield includes provisions for expansion to 60,000 square feet.

Supervisor Barbara Kondylis expressed concern over lack of childcare for county employees who will work at the facilities.

It's not just that there's a need," she commented on the importance of childcare, "It's setting a good example."

Staff members, however, noted concerns regarding clients such as paroled sex offenders that need to meet in those buildings but cannot be near children.

"We have certain kinds of clients that shouldn't be around children," explained Assistant County Administrator Veronica Ferguson, adding that staff is working to develop childcare options in the vicinity of the facilities.

The largest chunk of funding for the South County project - $37.3 million - will come from a bond. The remaining $15 million will be paid through a past settlement agreement and departmental operating budgets for furnishings, fixtures and equipment.

All facets of the project should be completed by 2010, Artiche said.

Erin Pursell can be reached at

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