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Article posted: 11/16/2012 12:09 PM

Pingree Grove may build public works facility

By Elena Ferrarin

Pingree Grove is looking at building a public works facility that would also house the water and sewer department and possibly the building department and even village hall, officials said.

The village, which has no public works facility, currently leases space for that purpose about 3 miles west in Elgin, Village Administrator Ken Lopez said.

The water and sewer department uses space in the water treatment plant as a lab, office and lunchroom, and stores its equipment outside, water plan supervisor Gary Zichur said.

The two departments have five full-time employees total, plus numerous part-time employees, Lopez said. "Ideally we would have one facility to house all three functions -- streets, parks, and water and sewer," he said.

The idea of adding space for village hall -- now housed in two trailers -- and the building department -- whose services are being contracted out -- has also been floated, Lopez said. So far, there's been no discussion about cost or financing, he said.

"Will it happen? It's hard to say," he said. "We're at a point now where the departments are growing and it makes sense to look at this."

Pingree Grove has grown from 124 residents in the 2000 U.S. Census to about 4,500 residents in 2010.

The new building likely would be between 12,000 and 20,000 square feet, Zichur said. Last month, members of the building and facilities committee toured buildings in Huntley made of Solarcrete, which uses a mixture of concrete and foam to make energy efficient walls. There might be an opportunity to get Federal Emergency Management Agency money if the building can serve as a severe weather shelter, Zichur said.

"We're impressed with (Solarcrete), it seems to have a lot of pluses to it, but we also don't want to narrow it yet. We want to look at what it costs, what the benefits are," he said.

The village board will get an update from the building and facilities committee meeting on Dec. 3, and might vote to hire contractor to do needs analysis and cost projections for different types and sizes of buildings, Lopez said.

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