MASON CITY, Iowa - Staffers with the Cerro Gordo County Department of Engineering are counting the days when the keys to their new facility are officially handed over.
The roughly $3.5 million facility, located behind the county Law Enforcement Center on the west side of Mason City, will feature a wash bay, expanded garage, sign shop and offices, as well as gasoline and diesel tanks, is a combination of three existing facilities. These include the Clear Lake shop next to the city pool, a sand/material lot on the east side of Clear Lake, and the South Federal Avenue shop. The sale of these properties is part of what is allowing the project to come in under budget. To help with further cost savings, the department is moving some existing equipment into the new facility, and some work like dirt removal, seeding and some interior work is being done by the department itself.
County engineer Brandon Billings says the new facility will help improve operational efficiency.
"The efficiency of the building is going to be amazing, and the money savings we have with heating and cooling the building. The access will be better, especially the engineer's office, not being on the second story anymore. The benefits to the public and the savings it's going to have for us is going to be a big improvement."
One of the benefits of the new complex is the centralization of many functions.
"I think it's being close to one of my sheds so I can actually talk to them easier every day than using the telephone. Interpersonal contact really helps the guys understand what I'm thinking better. It helps them give confidence in my orders because they're able to talk to me about it."
The centralization of the new facility will also streamline snow moving abilities during the winter months, with trucks having easier access to be deployed directly onto county roads, as opposed to having to drive through town to access them.
The facility is part of a larger plan that involves constructing new maintenance buildings or modernizing existing buildings throughout the county.