The Evanston City Council is scheduled to get a report Monday night that says the city’s Service Center on Asbury Avenue needs a modernization project costing at least $44.2 million.

And that’s for the least expensive option. The more expensive option presented by the study would cost nearly $96 million.

A staff memo says the nearly 140,000 square foot service center was built in 1980 and has four interrelated building wings and two storage facilities.

It houses all public works, facilities, fleet management and parking services operations.

Much of the work, the memo from Senior Project Manager Stefanie Levine says, will be required to meet the city’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan requirements as well as to bring the facility up to modern standards.

The $44.2 million option being recommended by staff calls for replacing the storage bins at the service center with a new public works storage building at James Park.

The service center’s vehicle storage and employee parking has developed structural issues that have required about $1.2 million in mostly emergency repairs in recent years.

Greeley and Hansen, the structural engineering firm hired by the city last fall to develop a master plan for the service center, said replacing that building would bump up the cost of the project to the $96 million level.

The lower-cost option would make extensive repairs and structural improvements to that building instead.

The staff is recommending that the city fund the improvements with general obligation bonds and that the work be phased over time as funding allows.

And those cost estimates are only ballpark numbers. The memo says the work could cost anywhere from half as much to twice as much as the price tags the report assigns.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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