Pierce County is looking into the possibility of concentrating its government offices under one roof — at a new facility the county would develop.
A study was commissioned by Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy in June of last year to determine, according to a statement released today, whether the county could “improve the delivery of public services and save money by consolidating general government offices into one facility.”
For the 17 departments affected by the study, the county currently leases more office space than it owns. Data was gathered in the study to assess the future costs of those commercial office space leases, as well as financing options for potential new construction and the possibility of other county departments moving into the vacated space.
The study's project committee, which according to McCarthy's statement included members of “key executive branch departments” and the County Council, has reached a preliminary conclusion to recommend a new building. However, a final recommendation isn't expected to be made to McCarthy until July.
“Based on the regular briefings the committee has provided, I am pleased with their approach to finding a way to improve the delivery of services to the public by trading our various leased spaces for one owned space that offers easy access and free parking,” McCarthy said. “That said, they requested a little more time to test their data.”
Once a recommendation is made, the next step would be McCarthy's decision on whether to seek the County Council's approval for design funding.
The study's initial assumption was that the Pierce County Annex would be the likely site for consolidated offices. It was found, however, that the annex currently needs “millions of dollars” in renovations, leaving the project team searching for an alternate site.
Focus was then shifted to the 13-acre former Puget Sound Hospital site at 3580 Pacific Ave., now believed to be the likely location for a newly developed county facility.
Citing ongoing analysis, Pierce County Communications Director Hunter George declined to give further specifics on the project.
“Details of the proposal will be released after the study team finishes its research,” McCarthy said. “If I decide to proceed with the team's recommendation, the public will have an opportunity for input during the Council's deliberative process.”