Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
March, 2014
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Recently Elected Officials Honored at Swearing In Ceremonies

Service Comes First

Thurston County’s Specialty Courts Hit Milestone

One Family, One Judge.

Sheriff Recognizes Contributions to the Community

Romance on Mound Prairie

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 The Future is Now:

“State-of-the-Art” County Facility Opens for Business

Completed this spring, the new Thurston County facility at Tilley Road is a strong candidate to earn the county’s first Gold Standard LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental) certification. The complex of three new and two remodeled buildings houses the county’s Public Works and Emergency Management departments, as well as Fleet and Technical Services, comprising a total of more than 170 employees. A Grand Opening and Dedication will be scheduled soon and announced on the county webpage.

Some of the most impressive features of the Tilley Complex are things you’ll never see. Imagine, for example, a four-inch-wide hole drilled 100 yards deep (the length of a football field). Now imagine sixty-three 100-yard wells, totaling 3.5 miles—all beneath the parking lot. These holes aren’t water wells, but geothermal wells that will help heat and cool buildings A and C in the five-building complex.

“The geothermal wells work like heat pumps, circulating fluid between the ground and the buildings to keep us warm in the winter and cool in summer,” says Engineering Services Manager Brent Payton, the county’s representative for the Tilley Campus Project.

Wells aren’t the only thing under the parking lot. Old fuel tanks are usually demolished and sent to the landfill. The two 20,000 gallon underground tanks at Tilley’s previous fuel island are still there but with a new life: Scrubbed and thoroughly purged, the tanks now collect rainwater that will be used to flush toilets and for irrigation. Controlling rainwater at the Tilley parking lot will be easier than at conventional lots. That’s because much of the new lot consists of pervious surfaces which allows rainwater to soak into the ground, rather than become stormwater runoff, a major source of pollution. Any stormwater runoff created is piped to a 300-lineal-foot level spreader that helps evenly distribute water as it enters the retention pond.

Other things you won’t see are the actions taken to prepare the site. The two houses that had to be cleared weren’t demolished. One was deconstructed so that more than 80% of the materials were recycled or reused. The second home was moved to Burfoot Park to be used as a new home for the park’s caretakers.

Inside, the buildings continue the commitment to green design with high-recycle-content carpeting and the use of low VOC (volatile organic content) paint. The interior is airy and well-lit with both motion-sensor lamps and copious amounts of natural light from the generous amount of windows and skylights.

Speaking of light, solar panels on top of the new Emergency Services Center and Building C will supplement the energy needs of the new facility. These and other low-carbon measures make the new facility a strong candidate to earn the county’s first Gold Standard LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental) certification.

Besides energy-saving and environmental features, the Tilley facility is “green” in another critical way—as in dollars. The move by Public Works staff from a facility on Heritage Court near the county courthouse will result in big savings down the road. “By year 15 of the new complex,” explains Central Services Director Mark Neary, “we’ll recoup what we would have spent leasing office space. After year 15, we’ll save close to $500,000 per year that can be used to maintain the county owned asset as opposed to paying rent.”

The project is also funded in part by a $1 million Homeland Security Grant and the issuance of Build America and Qualified Energy Conservation bonds for $18 million. In finance, timing is everything, and the timing for the Tilley project was excellent with bond interest and construction costs at record lows. Initial indications are that the project is on target to come in within budget.

Other benefits of the improved and expanded Tilley Road facilities:

  • Increased efficiency by moving all of Public Works into one facility.
  • Emergency Management’s new home (Building E) is much more disaster-resistant than its former location on Pacific Avenue.
  • Relocating Emergency Management allows Medic One and Tcomm 9-1-1 to address long-needed expansion goals.
  • Building D is a heated storage facility for equipment sensitive to freezing temperatures.

By Keith Eisner

Architect's drawing of the new Tilley facilities. Architect's drawing of the new Tilley facilities.

Part of the geothermal installation. Part of the geothermal installation.