More than 50 water-utilities employees in Lee’s Summit have a new work space to call home.
Employees, city officials, and members of Water Utility Advisory Board celebrated the grand opening Dec. 15 of the new Water Utilities Service Center at 1200 S.E. Hamblen Road.
Prior to the ceremony and ribbon cutting, dozens of people toured the 38,000-square-foot facility, which includes a customer-service vestibule and welcome center, a field crew ready-room, office and work space for all current and anticipated employees, locker rooms, equipment and materials storage facilities, an equipment wash bay, and a fuel dock.
The completion of the Water Utilities Service Center means employees will now be housed under one roof.
Previously, the department said its employees had been located at three different facilities.
Kathy Brown, the metered services supervisor for the water utilities department, said during her 32-year career with the city of Lee’s Summit she’s moved office locations seven times for her job — from the train depot to different spots in the former City Hall building to a house next to the post office to the old police station to a bank building to a facility at 1399 S.W. Ward Road.
Now, Brown is looking forward to settling down in a new office with more space.
“This has been a long time coming, and Mark Schaufler has done a fantastic job as director and he’s made it happen,” Brown said. “We do so many duties that are similar to what our operations department does, and now we’ll be more efficient. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Construction on the $14.6 million project started in September 2016, according to a department spokeswoman. The department said it was able to fund the new building without issuing debt bonds.
The idea for the project started in 2007 after a space-needs study identified it as a need for the city. The project subsequently was recommended by the 2009 citizen-led Lee’s Summit 360: Charting Tomorrow Strategic Plan as well as the 2011 Water Utilities Strategic Plan.
During the grand opening ceremony, Director of Water Utilities Mark Schaufler recognized several people for contributing to the project, including they mayor, city council, the Water Utility Advisory Board, the city manager and the assistant city manager, HDR Engineering, the Fogel-Anderson Construction Company, the water-utilities project oversight team, water utilities employees, the city architect, employees of the IT department, as well as its 35,000-plus residential and commercial customers.
“When I think of this project, I think about what an awesome team of folks — from all different backgrounds, trades, and professions — have come together to make this project a reality,” Schaufler said. “Literally hundreds of people have contributed in one way or another.”
The new building will house all of the water utilities department’s current staff and services and, as Lee’s Summit Mayor Randy Rhoads mentioned, the project was planned for the city’s future growth.
“Just like folks who came before us who made these investments in our system and our community, today this building is an investment for the future,” Rhoads said. “It allows our entire water utilities department to operate under one single facility. ... Because of this, we can give our customers and citizens of today, and in the future, better services and continue to improve the efficiency of water and sewer operations for years to come.”
The Water Utilities Service Center opened to the public at 8 a.m. on Dec. 19. Customers will be able to pay their bill at the new building during business hours or at the drop box.
All previous methods of bill payment still will be utilized. Customers also may pay their bill at the cashier counter inside City Hall, 220 S.E. Green St.
For more information, visit lswater.net or call 816-969-1900.