New government building being designed for Camano Island

An open house is planned later this month so people can see what the county offices may look like.

CAMANO ISLAND — Designs are being drafted for a long-awaited update of government offices on Camano Island.

The plan is to replace the Camano Annex on N East Camano Drive, where the public offices are located. Camano is part of Island County, but most county services are based on Whidbey Island. That’s more than an hour by car, or a boat trip across Saratoga Passage.

The annex was built in the 1970s. That was before modern building standards for earthquakes or accessibility, according to planning materials, and the island’s population was significantly smaller.

Island County sheriff’s deputies on Camano work out of a 1,000-square-foot modular building. The multi-purpose center also is “beyond its useful life” for community use, according to the county’s project description.

There had been plans to build a new government building on Camano Island a decade ago. When the recession hit, the county made cuts and plans for the new offices were shelved.

The annex has been in use for nearly 50 years. Island County Commissioner Rick Hannold previously described updates done over the years as “putting lipstick on a pig.” A new building is overdue, he said last summer, when the commissioners gave the go-ahead to move forward with the planning.

The building will combine government administrative offices, the sheriff’s office and a community meeting space. It is to be built on the same site as the current annex.

Construction is expected to start in spring 2019. The goal is to have the building finished by summer 2020.

Planners expect the project to cost about $5 million.

Funding for the design work was approved by the Island County Board of Commissioners last year. They hired SHKS Architects, a Seattle-based firm.

An open house is scheduled so people can see drawings of what the new building could look like. The event is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. July 26 at 121 N East Camano Drive. If weather allows, the gathering will be outside.

No formal presentation is planned. The idea is to offer a chance for people to drop in and ask questions, according to a news release from Hannold’s office.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com

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