Lakehaven Water and Sewer District nears completion of new headquarters

The new headquarters building is 40,000 square feet and houses nearly all departments.

Lakehaven Water and Sewer District’s brand new headquarters is nearly finished and district staff have moved into the improved space. Public facility tours will be offered in mid-July, according to general manager John Bowman.

After beginning construction in August 2021, Bowman said the staff moved into the building in February 2023, and besides the road out front still being paved, the headquarters construction is nearly complete.

Although staff moved in this year, for many of the staff, Bowman said it’s the first time many of the departments are working together in the same building. He said there wasn’t a headquarters before this facility was built.

The administration stayed at a building they called Lakehaven Center, which Bowman described as a “triple wide trailer,” and many departments stayed in different buildings.

Lakehaven Center was 7,600 square feet and only housed the administration. Now the headquarters is 40,000 square feet and houses nearly all departments.

“I think we’ll have better communication between all of our departments,” Bowman said. “We have our administrative department, water department, field operations departments and our engineering department all under one roof, with the exception of our wastewater operations.”

Ken Miller, the project manager, said the construction for this building cost about $43 million, but the total cost for the building was about $53 million, including soft costs, which included things such as furniture, design and permits. The planning for the building began about 10 years before they ever started construction, so Bowman said they had been planning the funding since then.

“We had set aside some money in our capital investment improvement plan,” Bowman said. “We didn’t acquire all the money for the building over that time, but we also took out some bond money in September 2022, which paid for a lot of this building and other capital projects.”

One of the amenities Bowman cites for the new staff is the lunch room with a patio and an elevator, but he thinks the staff will be especially happy about having more elbow room. He said the staff was working on top of each other, and the filing system was scattered, but now they can consolidate their filing.

The building captures a Northwest theme in the textures, colors and structure of the building, Bowman said, but what he thinks is the most notable design feature in the building is the clock, which they have been preserving from the Historical Society of Federal Way for more than three decades.

“It was torn down from what was called Federal Shopping Way, Santafair, or Old World Square,” Bowman said. “That was the name of the complex that was at 316th and Pacific Highway.”

While constructing the building, Bowman said they were thinking about the future and how they would need to utilize alternative forms of energy. They have EV charging stations for the public to use, the ability to add solar features, and they have sized their power grid to electrify their fleet in the future.

“We’re prepared to make that transition, as the availability of charging stations increases and as the price of electric vehicles comes down and the size of electric vehicles goes up,” Bowman said. “We always look at whether the next vehicle purchase will be electric or not.”