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Local water officials tout new, efficient digs

Environment: Santa Clarita Water Division will move to new spot Feb. 14

Posted: February 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita Water Division is moving Feb. 14 to make room for operations and staff, as well as upgrade to more energy-efficient offices. The SCWD will move further north to Summit Circle, just off Soledad Canyon Road, in Santa Clarita.

 

Back before the census even started tracking population statistics for Santa Clarita, more than a decade before the city incorporated, a Spanish-style building sitting just off Soledad Canyon Road was built specifically for the Santa Clarita Water Division in 1973.

The Santa Clarita Valley’s population was about 60,000 people back then; now the area is home to almost 300,000 people.

But on Feb. 14, the water division will open its doors at a new office building, making room for operations and staff that have grown along with the population.

The water retailer needed more space, said Mauricio Guardado, retail manager for the SCWD. The operation and number of people had doubled and tripled in size in the past four decades, he said.

“As we grew we started hiring more employees and as technology advanced we needed certain equipment,” Guardado said. “We’ve outgrown our old building.”

The Bonelli family
Santa Clarita Water, a division of Castaic Lake Water Agency, started in 1949, when the Bonelli family created the Bouquet Canyon Water Company.

In 1956, the Bonelli family started another water company called the Solemint Water Company.

Bouquet Canyon Water Company and Solemint Water Company merged in 1973, and later became known as the Santa Clarita Water Division.

The Castaic Lake Water Agency purchased the division in 1999.

Energy friendly
The SCWD is a public, nonprofit entity, and as such, Guardado said the water division needed to meet its needs with a larger building while still fulfilling its fiduciary responsibility to consumers.

“We didn’t go for the Taj Mahal,” Guardado said.

The division’s new building is about 13,000 square feet of office space, and will hold the administration, engineering, customer service and finance departments.

White composite material on the roof reflects heat away from the building, cooling the building during the summer seasons. The landscaping is all drought-tolerant, and the outdoor lighting is sensor-based.

The interior office space has been designed with many energy-saving elements as well, including strategically placed water heaters installed closer to restrooms, saving on energy required to heat the water located farther away.

The building’s HVAC units allow for several climate zones so that energy is not wasted in zones or offices that don’t require heating or air conditioning.

Lighting is equipped with passive infrared occupancy sensors to reduce lighting in each office when vacant.

Large windows reduce the use of fluorescent lighting by funneling as much natural light as possible into the offices. The fluorescent lighting used, however, is far more efficient than the older lamps.

Restrooms feature ultra low-flush toilets, water-free urinals and soap dispensers with motion sensor to reduce water waste.

Long process
The SCWD looked at three options: expanding at the existing site, buying raw land or building a new office site from the ground up.

SCWD was fortunate to find the particular office park it did, Guardado said.

“We were very cost-conscious,” Guardado said. “In these economic times, we wanted to pass through any savings that we could.”

Local attorney Carl Kanowsky helped negotiate the SCWD’s purchase agreement on the new building.

The SCWD will be closed Feb. 10 and Feb. 11, so that the division can move into its new building.

It will reopen on Feb. 14. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for March 8.

The new office will be located at 26521 Summit Circle in Santa Clarita.

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