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Firms sought for new county admin building, emergency op center

The old county jail, as seen here from the south east corner. (KEVIN MURRAY / Courtesy)
The old county jail, as seen here from the south east corner. (KEVIN MURRAY / Courtesy)
By DAVID SCHOLZ
Martinez Tribune

The initial step for new facilities is underway as Contra Costa County officials are now awaiting information from prospective firms that wish to take on upwards of two different future projects for the County.

A two- to three-week review process by a committee will then follow in which a short list of the top contenders will be ranked by late August or early September in preparation for the next step in the selection process.

Firms with expertise and experience in planning and feasibility studies of civic buildings/facilities have until July 14 to submit their qualifications. Experience in master planning, programming, space planning, and innovative architectural design is a plus in the eyes of the County.

Ramesh Kanzaria, RA, Capital Projects Division Manager for the county’s Public Works Department, said the collection of information from architectural firms is part of the study planning stage now taking place. At the same time, this matter is on a fast track as there is a desire to select multiple firms “sooner rather than later.’’

The three projects detailed in the call for qualifications include:

1) A new County Administration Building, located in the same location at 651 Pine Street or an adjacent location(s) or on other County-owned properties in Martinez;

2) A new Emergency Operations Center either at the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office along Glacier Drive, or another nearby location;

3) Possible other major County facilities identified as part of the County’s long term needs and part of on-going Capital Improvement Program development.

Kanzaria anticipated receiving submissions from multiple qualified firms, which will allow the county to have information ready to pull out in the future when it is ready to commence with other major projects.

Another incentive for putting these projects on a fast track is to take advantage of the attractive low interest bond market that now exists for public projects. Bonds would be used to fund these future projects.

Save the County Jail is one organization with a particular interest in future plans for a new administration building.

The organization is now seeking to preserve the old county jail, built in 1903, that now sits adjacent to the current Administration Building. One idea would see the old jail demolished so the site could serve as a potential staging area for the equipment necessary to construct a new administration building.

“Our hope is that it will be possible to accommodate the historic values component of your downtown Martinez development to the extent of working around the oldest portion of the county jail,’’ wrote Dean McLeod of Save the County Jail in an email to Eric Angstadt, chief assistant county office administrator for capital projects.

“Among the threads that underpin the very identity of Martinez is its sense of architectural history,’’ continued McLeod. “In the global scheme of things, this may seem insignificant, but it contributes to sense of place, something that is of high value in this city.’’

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