New Chelan PUD Site Year Behind Schedule, $25 Million Over Budget
Chelan County PUD's move from it's Fifth Street location to it's new Service Center in Olds Station is being delayed by almost a year and will cost $25 million more than originally thought.
PUD staff members said Monday that there have been setbacks caused by market factors, and notably from the discovery of cultural artifacts.
Shared Services Director Dan Frazier says it was especially important to consult with the PUD's tribal partners the handling of cultural artifacts.
"That process, it really was, kind of, eye opening for a lot of us that are involved in these types of projects," said Frazier. "It really did strengthen the relationship. We've had great perspective change in how we address cultural resource concerns on out projects."
Groundwork at the new Olds Station location was suspended in November of last year when the cultural artifacts were discovered.
Additional investigations and monitoring resulted in a new cultural excavation permit that allowed the PUD to move forward with groundwork in July.
The PUD says the new permit includes ongoing monitoring along with weekly communication with its tribal Partners – the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Yakama Nation and the Wanapum.
A process is also in place if more artifacts are unearthed during construction.
Other challenges driving costs and delays with the new Service Center have included inflation, supply-chain issues, and labor shortages.
There was concern about whether the massive move to a new headquarters was cost effective.
Frazier says they once considered only relocating half of their offices to the new location, but now know it would not have saved time or money on the project.
“It was good to revisit that, but we did do some analysis back in 2019, and this continues to be the right decision going forward,” Frazier said.
The PUD’s using money from its surplus energy sales to cover the extra costs of moving to its new Olds Station center.
The $25 million cost overrun comes on top of the original of the project pegged at $139 million.
The completion of the project has been moved to December 2023.
Move over from the PUD’s current 5th Street complex will take place in three phases.
Administrative groups will be the first to make the move in spring 2023. Field operations and customer service will move over in the fall of 2023, which will mark the public opening of the new facility. The 5th Street location will be vacated with the transfer of the fleet shop and Fish and Wildlife operations to the new location at the end of 2023.