Vancouver’s Operations Center is a 24/7 hub for essential city services and disaster response
VANCOUVER — The city of Vancouver’s proposal to purchase a 35-acre site currently owned by Clark County for a future replacement Operations Center has received the go-ahead by the Clark County Council, which authorized County Manager Shawn Henessee to proceed with the sale agreement. Authorization of the site purchase will be considered by the Vancouver City Council at a future meeting.
Vancouver’s Operations Center is a 24/7 hub for essential city services and disaster response — streets, water, sewer, traffic signals, street lights, grounds maintenance, facilities, utility customer services, vehicle/equipment services, and more.
The current Operations Center, 4711 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., was built for Clark Public Utilities in 1951, and purchased by the city in 1978, when Vancouver’s population was 42,000. The city’s population is now about 185,000. Meanwhile, the city’s Water Utility is the third largest municipal provider in the state, serving more than 250,000 residents, which includes much of the surrounding urban area as well as residents within Vancouver city limits.
Based on recent seismic studies, the existing Public Works Operations Center would not withstand even a moderate earthquake, resulting in significant impacts to the city’s ability to provide first response to streets, drinking water, sewer, police/fire support, and other services. In addition, the site configuration, size, outdated electrical and plumbing, more than 40-year-old fueling systems, and lack of accessibility have strained the facility’s operational limits.
Replacement of the existing facility has been carefully considered and evaluated over the years. According to a detailed needs assessment and evaluation, rebuilding the Operations Center at a new location is the most cost-effective and operationally beneficial path going forward.
The proposed new Operations Center site, located along the east side of Northeast 94th Avenue and north of Padden Parkway, lies within the city’s Water Service Area and the city’s Urban Growth Boundary. The new facility is being planned with a minimum 50-year service life, which the new location provides with future growth in mind. Financing for the new Operations Center is expected to include reserves, sale of existing properties, and General Obligation and Utility Revenue bonds.
Contingent upon City Council approval, planning, permitting and design of the new Operations Center would take place in 2020-2021. The city plans to work closely with the surrounding neighborhoods as part of that process. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2022, with completion in 2024.
Information provided by city of Vancouver.