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City to replace corporation yard
• Project includes eight two-story buildings phased in over four years
Corp yard Ceres
The city of Ceres is making plans to build a new corporation yard facility on Harold Street just west of Highway 99. A site plan was approved on Monday by the Ceres Planning Commission. - photo by Jeff Benziger

The Ceres Planning Commission voted Monday to approve a Site Plan Approval (SPA) to redesign the city’s Corporation Yard with a new master plan that will eventually result in eight two-story buildings ranging in size from 3,840 to 7,200 square feet with additional improvements at 3420 Harold Avenue.

The Public Works Department has been working with RED Inc. Architects of Modesto to develop a comprehensive facilities master plan to assess the existing facilities, forecast future service demand, and draft a phased facilities development plan.

The city expects five phases of improvements starting next year as funds become available. Each phase is expected to be a year apart with the first phase completed by 2022 and the last phase being completed by 2026.

City Manager Tom Westbrook said that the city’s capital improvement program will pay for the project as well as water and sewer enterprise account funds. Public Works Director Jeremy Damas said he doesn’t foresee any general fund dollars will be used to build the project.

“The architect, Greg Pires, and I have been working on this for several years now,” Damas told the commission. “There’s still a lot of logistics, as you can imagine, to work out staging the project.”

The corporation yard is replete with aging facilities that have exceeded their normal lifespan and need to be replaced with new facilities, a city report to the commission stated. One of the buildings on the 3.85-acre site that will be coming down is the former Ceres Lumber Yard which dates back to the early 1900s.

The master plan outlines the sequence of phasing for the construction of new buildings at the same time as existing facilities are to be demolished. Proposed to be constructed are eight two-story structures totaling 48,436 square feet to replace existing structures and additional open area yard improvements.

The exterior of the two-story buildings will be designed up to 26 feet tall and include a combination of vertical “polar white” panels, horizontal “harbor blue” panels, integrated with charcoal colored window shelf/trim areas and metal awnings, and a “slate gray” metal roof.

The city is not immune from having to get its own site plan approved hence the project had to be run through the commission. All four commissioners present voted for approval.

“I look forward to seeing this project progress,” said Commission Chairwoman Laurie Smith.

Phase 1 calls for the demolition of the on-site parking stalls at the northwest section of the yard, the existing Administrative “A” building at the northeast; and the Storage “E” building and nearby parking improvements. The city would simultaneously build a new Administrative “A” building at the northwest corner with new parking and a new Storage “J” building at the south end of the site near the Pine Street overpass.

The second phase includes removal of the parking stalls and existing Facility “B” building at the northeast area and construction of a new Facility “B” building and a Commons “C” building at the northwest.

Phase 3 would bring about construction of a new Parks “D” building at the north end.

In Phase 4 the Water “D” building and parking stalls would be removed, along with the Water/Streets “F” building and parking; the existing Storage “C”, “I”, and “J” buildings and the existing retention basin at the southeast. Constructed would be a new Water “E” building and Streets “F” building at the northeast, a new Storage “I” building at the south end near the Pine Street overpass, an underground water retention basin and additional parking stalls with a gated entrance off of Railroad Avenue at the southeast end.

Phase 5 would include new paving improvements, adding new parking stalls for fleet staff and constructing new solar shade structures for the new fleet parking area. 

New Ceres corp yard rendering
This architectural drawing shows how the two-story buildings will look for the city of Ceres Public Works corporation yard on Harold Street. The buildings will be phased in over a four-year period starting in 2022 and ending in 2026. - photo by Courtesy of the city of Ceres