WENATCHEE — The North Central Educational Service District has completed a $1.2 million remodel of its four-story headquarters at 430 Olds Station Road.
The public is invited to tour the revamped facility at an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Spokane-based Blews Construction, general contractor on the project, broke ground in June.
The new design will improve how the district fulfills its main purpose of providing services and training to staff and administrators from 29 school districts throughout Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties, said NCESD Superintendent Michelle Price.
The district also will save the money in the long-run.
The district for several years has been leasing space off-site to house its special education department, Price said.. The district also rented training space around town on a regular basis to handle demand. The facility itself is used for meetings and trainings five days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“Several months ago, we began work to combine the staff and services housed in our two Wenatchee locations into one main headquarters,” she said. “The decision to combine locations was made to reduce costs and increase collaboration among our team, and it has also allowed us to create much-needed meeting and training space.”
The remodel created room in-house for the special education team and made the entire facility more efficient in terms of space and function.
“The project eliminated many interior walls and large reception areas to create open, collaborative work space for staff,” Price said. “The fourth floor of the building was a beautiful apartment that has been converted into meeting/training space and commercial bathrooms were installed. The aged building interior received new paint, carpet and LED lighting.”
NCESD in 2006 purchased the building for $4.1 million. It was built in 1997 for Pacific Aerospace and Electronics.
The building’s 28,028 square feet of space, which included the basement and fourth-floor apartment created for former PA&E CEO Don Wright, provided some much needed elbow room.
Previously, the NCESD was headquartered in a 15,000-square-foot former church at 640 S. Mission St.
In the past few years, growth led to another space crunch and the extra lease expense. A decade ago, the district had about 70 employees. It now has about 110.
“About half work in the building regularly and the other staff are deployed out to districts and need a flexible space to work in when they are in the building,” Price said.
After penciling out the costs, the ESD Board decided a remodel made sense. The district had about $400,000 set aside for capital projects and the board approved an $800,000 loan to cover the rest.
“The annual loan payment is essentially the same as what our annual cost for renting office and training space was,” Price said. “The expenditure-neutral project will have long-term savings in five years when the loan is paid off.”
The district, which has an annual operating budget of around $17 million, receives 4% of its funding from core state funds. The other 96% comes from grants and fees for service provided to the 29 public school districts from the four counties.
Services provided to individual school districts vary, but can include everything from business, human services and safety support to teacher and administrator training and evaluation. The staff helps coordinate special education, STEM programs and nursing services, among other cooperative efforts. The ESD also serves as the liaison between state agencies and local districts.
For information call 665-2610.