Woodbury's Public Works Department will get the money to nearly double the size of its current headquarters.

City council members approved issuing $5.3 million in bonds for construction of an expansion to the Public Works Building.

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The timing of the expansion and the bonding for it had to do with both need for more room, as well as low interest rates.

"It's good we're capitalizing on low interest rates at this time," council member Cheryl Hurst said.

The bonds will be paid back during the course of 15 years at a 4.35 percentage rate. It will cost Woodbury residents $22 per household per year for the average valued home.

If everything goes as the public works department is planning, the expansion would be finished by the end of 2004. The department is hoping the expansion will be sufficient until 2015. It would be the first of a possible two expansions that would allow for growth in the city until it reaches full capacity, around 2025, by the city's estimates.

"All of this is being driven by the growth of the community," Public Works Superintendent Frank Gaillard said.

The current Public Works Building, constructed in 1993, holds the public works administration, engineering division, utility services, street and storm water services, city vehicle equipment maintenance, and the parks and forestry division.

These services are spread throughout the two public works buildings, which opposite of each other along Tower Drive. The first building was constructed in 1967 and went through two expansions before the current building was added in 1993.

An overhead drawing of the possible expansions to the Public Works Building showed an expanded garage that nearly doubles the current size of the Central Garage. A smaller vehicle bay was shown added to the east side of the building, as well as an expanded lunch locker room on the west side.

"In order to maintain our levels of service, we have been increasing staff and increasing the amount of equipment we need to provide these services," Gaillard said. "And now we've reached capacity in this building."

Gaillard said that the city has about 60 vehicles, from dump trucks to large mowers, that need to be kept in heated storage. The current public works garage has a capacity of 30 vehicles.

The department has been making due by overpacking the current public works garage, and then storing the remaining vehicles in other public buildings throughout the city. This means less efficient use of manpower, according to Gaillard.

There is a space crunch for public works administration, as well as its field workers, according to Public Works Director David Jessup.

"We're physically out of administrative space," Jessup said. "Our locker room is at capacity. Our lunch room/conference room is sometimes over capacity."