MERCED — A groundbreaking Tuesday marked the start of construction on a new building for the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District, and officials say a local contractor will benefit by being selected to do the work.
The district's current facilities on Beachwood Drive date back to the 1940s, lack air conditioning, and aren't compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, said manager Allan Inman.
"I think the facility was long overdue and outlived its useful life," he said. "Everybody is excited and this will improve the health and safety of the employees."
The new building, which will be constructed on the same 4-acre lot, will house multiple facilities under one roof.
"The design of the new building is much more efficient and will allow us to accommodate more people in there comfortably," Inman said.
In the current facility, Inman said, the office complex, storage buildings and chemical loading area are spread throughout the lot. The new design will bring them together.
The construction costs for the 5,200 square-foot facility will be $930,592, he said. The district took out a 5-year loan in the amount of $750,000, and the rest will come from its reserves.
The Merced County Mosquito Abatement District is funded by an annual $8 parcel fee paid by county residents. It also receives a small increment of the county's property taxes, Inman said.
The county keeps 35 cents of the $8 fee, Inman said, and the district gets $7.65. Last year, the district received about $600,000 from the parcel fee and $1.5 million from the property tax increment.
A Merced general contractor, Clendenin Bros., Inc., has been selected to work on the project. Five other companies were invited to bid for the proposal.
Owner Tom Clendenin, 57, said his company will subcontract with 15 local companies to complete parts of the project, including concrete work, painting and electrical. Only one contractor will be from outside Merced County.
"It supplies jobs and taxes to the local economy," Clendenin said. "There has been very little construction work in the Merced area for the last two years, so it's nice to have local work back here."
Inman said he's pleased that the project will provide a boost to local companies.
"We're extremely proud that a local company got the general contractor bid and that he's using local subcontractors" Inman said. "We like the fact that he's keeping the tax money local in Merced County."
Officials considered several locations for the new building, including Castle Commerce Center and the Merced Regional Airport, before settling on the Beachwood Drive lot.
The new building is slated for completion in 180 days, Inman said, and some of the old facilities will be demolished.