SHKS designs SPU South Operations Center

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is moving its drainage and wastewater operations from the Charles Street complex in Sodo to West Seattle, and will occupy space where Pacific Alaska Tours operates its local bus fleet.

The city in June paid $11.55 million for the 6-acre site at 4500 W. Marginal Way S.W.

A spokesman for Pacific Alaska Tours said it will move at the end of the month to a leased location in Renton. He said the Juneau-based tour company opened its Seattle operations in early 2015 in the Marginal Way location.

SPU will substantially renovate the 38,000-square-foot pre-engineered metal building to create a new South Operations Center.

The project will add a new exterior skin, mechanical systems, elevator, solar panels and interior finishes. A new wash rack fed by rainwater from a cistern will also be added. The cistern could be used to fill vactor trucks.

The DJC reported last year that the updated building will have room for 145 employees, with offices, labs and support space for field crews. Some of the space could be used by emergency management and safety staff.

The project has a construction budget of $19.8 million, but that could change if additional work is approved, such as more capacity for electrical-vehicle charging, radio/cell signal enhancements and a vehicle maintenance facility.

SPU could keep one of the four bus maintenance bays for the vehicle maintenance facility, which could service vactor trucks, CCTV vans and fleet vehicles.

Tom Fawthrop, project manager at SPU, said the bid advertisement for a general contractor is scheduled for September 2018. Construction would start in January 2019 and finish by the end of that year. Staff would move in the following spring.

SHKS Architects is nearly finished with the design development phase of the project, which is targeting LEED gold.

SHKS on its website says the new center will help SPU provide more efficient and resilient operations, support employee health and wellness, and exemplify environmental stewardship. It says the new center will minimize duplication and improve collaboration and productivity.

Fawthrop said the new location could help reduce vehicle downtime with an on-site maintenance shop, reduce travel time to southend sites and improve emergency response time to West Seattle.

Madeline Fong Goddard, SPU’s deputy director of drainage and wastewater, said, “Seattle Public Utilities’ crews work on flooding, sewer backups and sewer maintenance throughout the city. We’re excited about the South Operations Center and the ability to provide more efficient service to our south-district customers.”

Fawthrop said SPU has met with neighbors to address concerns about water, air and traffic. “We’re looking to be good neighbors out there,” he said.

A field office for the Seattle Department of Transportation and some other operations will remain at the Charles Street complex, and the city will continue fleet maintenance there.

Here’s the rest of the project team: Swenson Say Faget (structural engineer), The Greenbusch Group (mechanical and plumbing engineer, elevator design), Case Engineering (electrical), LPD Engineering (civil), SiteWorkshop (landscape architect), Stantec (acoustic design), Blanca Lighting Design, DCW Cost Management, Cite|specific (specifications), Heffron Transportation; Wetherholt and Associates (envelope), Facility Dynamics Engineering (controls), SWCA Environmental Consultants (archaeologist), O’Brien & Co. (LEED), The Watershed Co. (environmental consulting), and Wilson Jones Commissioning.

SPU DWW Project


SHKS Architects


SummerHill Apartments / / 03.23.23

SummerHill is planning a new seven-story, 258-unit apartment project at 14927 Aurora in Shoreline.

University Prep ULab / / 04.25.22

Construction has begun on a new 39,000 SF building for University Prep.

Pride Place Groundbreaking / / 09.15.21

SSF is the structural engineer for Pride Place, a 118-unit, seven story, affordable housing development in the heart of Capitol Hill.