HYATTSVILLE – Working toilets and a woman’s locker room are just a part of what the brand new Hyattsville Department of Public Works building will hold when it is finally built. Plans for the building are officially underway and starting to move forward as the city “symbolically” broke ground for the new building on Aug. […]
HYATTSVILLE – Working toilets and a woman’s locker room are just a part of what the brand new Hyattsville Department of Public Works building will hold when it is finally built.
Plans for the building are officially underway and starting to move forward as the city “symbolically” broke ground for the new building on Aug. 9 in a small ceremony. The building, when completed, will replace a pair of conjoined facilities, on the same property at 4633 Arundel Place, which the department has significantly outgrown, said department head Lesley Riddle.
“We’re growing exponentially as a city,” she said. “Our office is somewhat cramped. We can get stuff done. We have bathrooms that kind of don’t flush real well because we don’t have a full-sized waterline, because when this was constructed – this site has been here for 60 or 70 years.”
A new public works building has been on the city’s to-do list since 2009 and was made a priority during last few years. The last time the current building was renovated was 1970.
“This project is one that’s easy to go under the radar. It’s not as forward facing as the municipal building or the police department, but this facility is home to the people and the equipment that, quite literally, keep all of us running every single day,” said Mayor Candace Hollingsworth.
Hollingsworth said she is proud of the investment the city is making in the new public works building and Riddle said the support from the council has been “absolutely amazing.”
“It’s amazing that they’re willing to invest in us, which means a ton to me and my staff. Home will become better,” she said.
City Administrator Tracey Nicholson said the city will be ready to start building in September after all the paperwork and permits have been finalized. Surveying has already been completed.
The city is also actively looking for more grant opportunities to help offset the $3.3 million price tag. However, everyone at the ceremony agreed that the cost will be worth it to have adequate facilities.
“We ask a lot of the department of public works team and the residents expect a lot of them, quite frankly,” Nicholson said. “And so I think it’s important to give back to them, and part of the way we can show that we appreciate them is by at least giving them some conditions to work in that meet standards, let’s just say that.”
The new building will hold not only administrative offices for the department, which runs street maintenance and solid waste removal, takes care of the city’s parks and more, but it will also have four service bays for department mechanics to work on all city vehicles, including police cars. The new building will be a pre-constructed metal facility, built to LEED standards, and will have a stormwater management plan.
Another large reason the department is in need of a serious upgrade is the very nature of the department. During large snowstorms or weather events, the staff is on call and often sleeps in the building. The less than 6,000 square foot building has to accommodate a 30-person staff.
“A lot of times we live here, particularly during emergency. During the Snowzilla two years ago, we were here for eight days and everybody gets a little stinky,” Riddle said. “But we’re happy people and we love working here, so we get by.”
Since the new building will be pre-engineered, Riddle said the longest part of the project will simply be the permitting process and placing the foundation. Once the foundation is placed, the building will be up in running in a little more than three months.
Riddle, her staff and the city are all more than ready for the new facilities.
“The building has just really been through an awful lot and it is not conducive,” Nicholson said. “This has been a long time coming.