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County extends contract for office building for sixth time

February 22, 2013

Inyo County is looking into the possibility of building a consolidated office building at the intersection of U.S. 6 and Wye Road (r) in an effort to get county employees out of cramped offices like the one on South Street (l), which houses Health and Human Services, the Ag Department and other offices. Photos by Mike Gervais

Plans for Inyo County’s new consolidated office building in Bishop are taking a little longer to draft than anticipated, but local leaders are determined to see what the building could look like.
County Administrative Officer Kevin Carunchio said another extension of an exclusive negotiation contract with Joseph Enterprises, LLC became necessary due to a busy schedule for county staff.
“This is the sixth extension, it’s just taking longer to accomplish than we expected,” Carunchio said. “We (county staff) still need to get services out, but both sides (Inyo and Joseph Enterprises) are happy with the progress we’re making.”
Joseph Enterprises is currently working to draft building plans for the office space. Those plans were initially due to be in the county’s hands Feb. 28, but the Board of Supervisors, on Tuesday, approved a contract extension, giving the company until May 31 to draft the building design.
Inyo County first entered a non-binding exclusive negotiating contract with Joseph Enterprises on Sept. 6, 2011. That contract included two phases, the creation of a term sheet outlining the obligations of both sides, and a design phase to be handled by Joseph Enterprises with consultation from county department heads.
Joseph Enterprises was charged with creating a space plan for the consolidated office building to be built on a piece of property at the intersection of U.S. 6 and Wye Road in Bishop.
According to a staff report, the space plan “is anticipated to identify the specific departments and staff positions that will be located in the consolidated offices, and their associated space needs.”
The space plan will be used to update architectural plans and to produce a more detailed conceptual design.
“The concept plans are non-binding, and must be approved by the Board of Supervisors, acting in open session,” Carunchio said. “Staff, including county department representatives, have been working with the developer and the developer’s architect, Ware Malcomb, to develop the concept plans, and this process is almost complete.”
In an effort to ensure that the proposed office building will meet the county’s needs, representatives from Ware Malcomb toured the county’s existing offices in Bishop and met with county departments last April. The architect firm also provided county department heads with a questionnaire to gauge their wants and needs, and provided staff with information about current trends in office buildings.
“This process led to the development of a draft building program and block diagram for the consolidated building,” the staff report states. “Based on feedback, Ware Malcomb refined the draft building program and block diagram for the consolidated building and the new drafts were circulated to county departments for review and comment in December.”
The county and Joseph Enterprises is currently in the process of refining those plans to get an idea of how much square footage will be needed in the building to house all the county departments.
Once those plans are finalized, Carunchio said a workshop with the Board of Supervisors will be held to review the preliminary plans. From there, the county will host public meetings to allow residents to review and comment on the preliminary plans.
Carunchio stressed that plans will not be architectural designs at that phase of the project, and the agreement with Joseph Enterprises will remain non-binding, so the county will have the right to back out of the process.
After receiving input from residents and the Board of Supervisors, the plans will be submitted for architectural design.
Following that process, the county and Joseph Enterprises will have the opportunity to create a more formal, binding agreement and begin work on the new building.
By continuing with the exclusive negotiating contract, Carunchio said the county can look at the cost and other aspects of the consolidated office building at minimal cost, as Joseph Enterprises has agreed to take on that task. Right now, Carunchio said the county’s costs are limited to staff time as department heads work with the developer to create plans for the building.
He said those plans should be available to the public before May 31.

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