City of Yelm staff are currently in the process of reviewing proposals from a select number of architectural firms marking the start of the city’s efforts to explore construction of a mixed-use education and business space, according to a Monday press release.
A firm is expected to be selected sometime before the end of the year and will be contracted to build a multi-story, multi-use city facility that will play host to education and economic development. A tentative construction timeline and cost estimate deadline has not yet been relayed to the public.
The building would be erected in the lot behind Yelm City Hall where the city is also exploring the possibility of locating a branch of South Puget Sound Community College.
“A new building will provide a dedicated space for education, training and technology to serve members of the rural parts of Thurston and Pierce Counties, and catalyze the startup and expansion of small business by breaking down barriers to entry for local businesses to continue to strengthen our local economy,” the city wrote in the press release. “The multi-use building was also identified in the recently adopted Downtown Corridor Strategy which lists projects that will improve connectivity and downtown vitality, while maintaining the character of Yelm’s historic corridor. This project includes converting Washington Street and McKenzie Avenue into one way streets between Second and Third streets”
According to the press release, the city requested proposals from three separate firms, and staff will base their decision on expertise, references and project approach.
Renderings and design elements of the project will likely be finished early summer of 2020.
The move by the city to accept proposals comes just months after the city acquired roughly $200,000 from the Legislature’s capital budget to explore the possibility of opening a facility.
Most city council members have been very receptive to the city’s efforts to stimulate local economic growth and provide higher education alternatives closer to home, but some have said they’d like the city to construct the project with minimal impact to the city’s capital budget.
The city plans on constructing the facility on a half-acre lot next to city hall, on the corner of Washington Street and Third Street. The lot was purchased by the city in 2018.