Construction set to begin for Oshkosh's new parks building in September, current building closes Wednesday

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OSHKOSH – Construction of a new, $10.2 million parks department building will begin in September, keeping the timeline on track for the building to be completed in 2023.

The parks building will be closed Wednesday as the remaining workers relocate in anticipation of the demolition of the current site at 805 Witzel Ave.

The project, approved by the council in April, is expected to take 12 to 13 months to construct after the demolition of the current building in September, according to Parks department director Ray Mauer.

The $10.2 million cost was about $3.6 million higher than initial projections, with ballooning costs largely due to the price of construction materials soaring following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current operations building — built in the 1960s as part of a technical college — was not designed for municipal operations, making it very inefficient, Maurer said. Employees are spread across various sites throughout the city, and the current building isn't big enough to house all the department's vehicles, meaning some are stored outside.

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The new building is specifically designed for municipal operations, and it will be able to have all of the administrative staff under one roof and allow for the department's vehicles to be stored indoors, making it easier for parks operations, Mauer said.

He said not only will the new building be able to help the department operate more efficiently, but it will be a great benefit to the neighborhood and city once it's finished.

"It will be a building residents can be proud of, and also increase efficiency and get our staff out into the parks," Mauer said.

Contact Bremen Keasey at 920-570-5614 or bkeasey@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Keasinho.

This article originally appeared on Oshkosh Northwestern: Construction set to begin for Oshkosh's new parks building in September