Governments want to team up |

Governments want to team up

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Discussing a possible joint use facility are, from left, Mayor Hal Cole, school board member Sue Novasel, school Superintendent Jim Tarwater and El Dorado County facilities Division Manager George Sanders.

South Lake Tahoe civic leaders on Wednesday may have nailed down the footprint to a proposed government center that would place three agencies under one roof.

Representatives from the city, El Dorado County and the Lake Tahoe Unified School District figured they need an estimated 42,000 square feet to proceed with a center to house their facilities. Beyond offices for the three government groups, the idea includes a civic center that may be used as meeting space for nonprofits.

The school district is evaluating how to map out the structure on its 54 acres off Al Tahoe Boulevard, where its district offices and bus terminal are located. The city plans to compensate the school district for bringing the land to the table by finding another location where it could park its 30 buses – perhaps the Lake Tahoe Airport.

No price tag has been submitted.

Since the proposal is in the infancy stage, the planning team expects a feasibility study will need to be drafted to pursue the concept. A community forum may be scheduled in April.

Talk of joining forces came out of a perfect storm of conditions for the district, city and county.

“It makes sense to bring us all together,” district board member Sue Novasel said. “With declining enrollment, we’ve lost $5 million. We have to ask how to get the most out of our income. What we have is land.”

The district is developing its school facilities master plan. The county has been due to move out of its office space off Highway 50 for five years. And the city has needed a place of its own for 40 years since its inception.

The hope is proceeds from the sale of the county center and the city administrative building will go toward the effort.

“We’ve outgrown our facility,” Supervisor Norma Santiago said. County offices are scattered over town.

City Councilwoman Kathay Lovell said the city alone may need at least 25,000 square feet for its plans to combine the administrative staff with planning and public works. The local government is now undergoing a temporary move of administrative staff from Tata Lane to the airport by May. The Planning and Community Development departments will move out of the Council Chambers on Highway 50 to the Tata Lane structure that it owns. The city is trying to escape a $150,000-a-year rental expense on the Council Chambers building.

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