By Susan Sample
With City Council officially accepting the final Facilities Master Plan report for West U, the city now is guided by a long-term roadmap for the function and location of municipal buildings, as well as the sequencing of construction and renovations. Completion of this plan was a community effort, with extensive deliberation and participation by staff, expert consultants, council — and most importantly, residents.
In the fall of 2021, the city partnered with architectural consultants PGAL to examine how our local government, its buildings and operations interact with our community. To ensure continued success of West U’s public service model, existing municipal buildings were reviewed to determine their adequacy and ability to support enhanced city operations. In addition, a space needs assessment was completed to anticipate future departmental and personnel needs. With some of our facilities dating back to the 1940s, decisions needed to be made on where to focus efforts to support our high level of service for residents.
Implementation of the Facilities Master Plan will be a multi-year process, beginning with the construction of a new Public Works Maintenance Facility on West U owned-property in Houston. This will increase operational efficiencies and free up space in the City Center, offering options for a more pedestrian-friendly community campus. The city is currently in the design phase of the facility, with construction scheduled to begin in late 2023.
Any vision for the future of our community would not be complete without incorporating efforts to build on the city’s sustainability efforts. At our meeting on May 27, council received a final report from the city’s first Sustainability Task Force. As we examine opportunities to expand West U’s environmental stewardship strategies, council and staff will be evaluating ways to incorporate sustainable elements into the design of the Public Works maintenance facility.
The city will be particularly interested in evaluating ways we can be part of the solution for a brighter future, including improving energy efficiency and investing in the infrastructure for electric vehicles. Through these efforts, West U can maintain its commitment to excellence and responsibility on behalf of residents for decades to come.
For more information on the Facilities Master Plan, or to listen to any of our workshops and public town halls, please visit https://www.westutx.gov/1369/Facilities-Master-Plan.
Sample may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org