On Monday, March 14, Destin Water Users, Inc.
, (DWU) celebrated the groundbreaking of its new office building, warehouses, and parking garage located at the George French Water Reclamation Facility at 14 Industrial Park Lane. The cost of construction is $19.5 million, including architectural and engineering fees, furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
After suffering a near miss from Hurricane Michael, the new structures will replace old buildings that predate current hurricane building codes. The new office building will also consolidate offices and personnel working on the plant and will serve as a command center post hurricane.
“We were concerned that the current building would not withstand the strong storms we’ve seen in recent years and it would hinder our ability to recover,” said Lockwood Wernet, DWU General Manager. “We were also concerned about our ability to keep staff safe in buildings that are not rated to withstand the strong hurricanes.”
DWU has been working on the plans since 2019 with architect Michael Baker International. The new office building will be a 12,855 square-foot, two-story split face block construction while the warehouse will be a 6,268 square-foot, pre-engineered metal building to house inventory. There will also be a new 7,396 square-foot, pre-engineered departmental storage building that will serve as work and storage area for different departments working on the plant and in the field. The parking garage will be a three-story, 26,400 square-foot precast concrete structure with 67 parking spaces.
Working with Walbridge Construction, DWU has contracted with them as a Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) to assist with the Plant Facilities Redevelopment. The CMAR will assist DWU with completing design of the project and then help with construction management and the close-out of the project.
“As we begin construction, we are confident that we are doing our part to ensure that we continue to provide essential services to our members and that we can respond immediately after any natural disaster thereby living up to our mission statement that we are intent on doing our part to preserve this paradise we call home,” said DWU President Tom Weidenhamer.
Photo Caption: Dignitaries, employees, and guests of Destin Water Users, Michael Baker International, and Walbridge gather to officially break ground on the new $19.5 million project, located at 14 Industrial Park Lane in Destin.