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Soon! We will have an online survey available in early March to gather initial input on the vision and priorities for this new Civic Campus. We plan to have a virtual open house with an additional short survey available online in early June to gather feedback on the alternative design concepts. Finally, there will be a short public comment period later in the summer where you can comment on the design that has been marked as the preferred alternative.
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San Juan County’s functions are housed in a variety of facilities and sites that have developed sporadically over time. Administration, Community Development, Health and Community Services, several Elected Official’s offices, and Public Works functions are located in several facilities in the Town of Friday Harbor. The current configuration does not support efficient operations or customer service. Many facilities are inappropriate for their current use, difficult to renovate to support modern operations, and are becoming increasingly costly to maintain.
This new Civic Campus will bring these departments together to increase efficiencies, reduce operating costs, and provide better service to County residents. The new Campus will also provide new inside and outside spaces for community use. This is intended to be an amenity for the community, not just a facility for the County.
The new Civic Campus is intended to house the County Administration (County Manager, Information Services, and Facilities Manager), County Council, Department of Community Development, Health and Community Services, Public Works (except Maintenance and Fleet), and the Assessor, Auditor, and Treasurer’s Offices. Others, like the Prosecutor, District and Superior Courts, and Sheriff, will continue to be located in the Courthouse.
Depending on the outcome of this study, the County may decide to sell some of its current properties if they are determined to no longer meet the needs of the County. This revenue will be used to help offset the cost of the new building. Some of these sites that are near the new Civic Campus may also be used for employee parking. Spaces vacated by the Assessor, Auditor, and Treasurer’s Offices may be re-purposed for use by the courts or Sheriff. The courthouse will still be in use.
We will do a cost estimate based on the preferred alternative. Throughout the design process, the team will be cost-conscious, looking for ways to meet all of our needs while using space efficiently. This is an investment for the future. Once we are in a shared space with more up-to-date and energy-efficient systems, we anticipateSan Juan County Civic Campus Plan that we will spend less on the operations of a new facility than we do now on several separate facilities that require significant and continual maintenance.
The timing will depend on securing funding for construction. Once this Plan is complete and we have the preferred design alternative, it will go before the County Council. Ultimately the timeline will depend on Council review and action as well as obtaining financing.
There are two possible sites. The first option is in the triangle-shaped parcel bounded by Second St, Reed, and Blair. That is where some of the County offices are already located. The other possible site is across the street, where there is currently a parking lot shared by the Community Theater and the Courthouse. We understand that that parking lot is heavily used and that some parking would need to be retained on that site with any displaced parking spaces replaced with adequate and convenient parking nearby.
We will be evaluating these two options based on community input, County staff input, and the square footage needed to accommodate all of our functions.
The campus plan will detail how the designated County departments and functions will be incorporated into a new single campus on County-owned property in Friday Harbor. The plan will also detail the inclusion of community space to support public gathering and programming.
We will develop a few possible design concepts with site plans and three-dimensional illustrations to establish the desired site and building character and convey the development vision. We will share those visuals for community and County staff feedback. That will inform the development of a preferred alternative, which will be presented to the County Council.
The planning process began in late January 2018 and is expected to conclude in late summer 2018.
Early in the process, the public is invited to weigh in on the vision for the new Campus, community needs and uses that we should aim to accommodate, the character of the building, indoor and outdoor spaces, and public amenities. Your input will directly influence the work that the urban planners, landscape architects, and architects will do as they develop various design concepts.
A couple of months later, you will have the opportunity to review the different design concepts and let us know which ones you prefer, and why. We will carefully consider the input that we receive when we determine which of the design concepts will become the final one that is presented to Council. We would like to have a final plan that has broad community support and meets community needs, in addition to the needs of County departments.
This is your opportunity to tell us your priorities when it comes to the new Civic Campus. The Civic Campus will be located in Friday Harbor but it needs to effectively serve the whole community across all of the San Juan Islands.
We want the design to reflect local priorities and preferences. We are issuing the survey very early in the process so that we can really listen and use your input to directly influence the very first design concepts. The County wants to provide the highest-priority amenities for the community.
We want to reach as many people as possible from across all of the islands, and a survey is an efficient and convenient way to do that.