City awards $250K architecture contract
Local firm to design new utilities department complex
Yuma took the next step in building a new $3 million Utilities Department Administration Complex during a Sept. 6 meeting. The City Council awarded the $250,000 architectural services contract for designing the facility to Nicklaus Engineering of Yuma.
However, Mayor Doug Nicholls first recused himself, citing a potential conflict of interest “only because my firm competed on this project.” He clarified that his company, Core Engineering, was not on the list of recommended firms, “but in all fairness for being in the middle of the competition, I don’t want to participate for transparency.” He added, “Contrary to what’s being spread around the city, I’m not on the proposed team to be awarded this evening. However, I’m still declaring my potent conflict of interest and turning the meeting over to the deputy mayor.”
Before the council awarded the contract with a 6-0 vote, Councilman Jacob Miller expressed approval that the contract would be going to a local firm.
“It’s been a long battle for them. They’ve been constantly at the forefront of this. And now tonight for them to be able to get this award is pretty rewarding for them, being able to receive this and design one of the facilities for the city of Yuma,” Miller said.
The city intends to construct a new Utilities Department Administration Complex and Maintenance Yard to replace the department’s existing facilities located at 190 W. 14th St.
“The existing structure is functionally obsolete and currently does not meet the needs of the department,” a staff report reads.
The “Old APS Building,” as the current facility is called, houses the department’s Systems Division (distribution and collections) with about 50 staff members.
The city plans to have the new complex designed in 2018 and built it in 2019. The minimum 20,000-squarefeet facility will be located on about three acres at 200 W. 13th St.
The new location will allow the department to consolidate several other divisions, including Administration, Pretreatment and the department’s warehouse into “one large fully functional facility” accommodating about 70 individuals. The facility will allow for future expansion.
The city received proposals from six firms: Archsol of Scottsdale, EMC2 Architects of Mesa, Hamilton Architecture of Phoenix, LEA Architects of Phoenix, Nicklaus Engineering of Yuma and Thompson Design Architects of Yuma.
The firms presented conceptual building options, with anticipated construction cost estimates. An evaluation committee of city staff reviewed and rated the proposals.
In other action, Nicholls again recused himself, citing a potential conflict of interest, on an agenda item seeking approval of an ordinance declaring a vacant parcel owned by the city as surplus, allowing a property exchange.
The 53-foot-by-170foot parcel is located at the north end of the new Sprouts Farmers Market. Developer Sixteen & Four LLC wants to use the parcel for additional parking.
As part of a 2015 development agreement, the city asked Sixteen & Four to construct 15th Street driveway improvements and the city would reimburse the company. Sixteen & Four has agreed to accept an exchange of the parcel as payment for the $44,508 in costs.
The land swap required an environmental assessment since a gas station and dry cleaners were previously located on the northwest corner of 16th Street and 4th Avenue. The city agreed to split the cost of the assessment at an approximate cost of $8,000 to the city.