Master Facilities Plan | Comprehensive Financial Plan Q1 Update

Valley County Commissioners were presented with the initial findings in a Master Facilities Plan process currently underway. In addition, a Citizens Committee, established to review and provide professional input, share information and communicate community feedback, was presented with the findings and toured offices at the County Courthouse. The Plan will help guide future decisions regarding County facilities and real property assets. 

Consultants Clearwater Financial and Insight Architects presented facility assessment findings, preliminary campus scenarios, and a demographic report sharing the projections used to estimate future space needs for the Courthouse building and other County facilities.

Findings are based on current space needs, growth projections, and interviews with County officials and staff. In addition,17 external stakeholders were interviewed including businesses, community organizations and other government entities and service providers throughout the County.

Projected Continuing Growth

Based on historical growth, projections show the County may double in size in the next 20 to 30 years, with a population of 26,253 by 2060. The County’s estimated 2022 population is 12,661. The report shows the County population has grown 19.1 percent growth over the past ten years, an increase of 1,884 residents, making it the fifth fastest-growing county in the state. 

Growth projections also evaluated where future development is likely to occur. There are limitations in where the County can grow, due to a high percentage of land owned by the State and the federal Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service. In addition, limited water and sewer capacity in incorporated areas will continue to drive pressure to develop within County unincorporated areas. 

Commissioner Maupin, who also serves on the Campus Planning Committee which recommended the proactive study, mentioned the importance of these planning efforts to adequately meet the current and future needs of the County.

Development patterns and currently entitled parcels indicate the future growth is expected in Donnelly, the northwest Donnelly Area of City Impact, and south Cascade regions. There are 715 parcels that have been approved for development within the County, with 195 of those lots currently platted.

Cameron Arial of Clearwater Financial, a member of the consulting team conducting the Master Facilities Plan and accompanying Comprehensive Financial Plan processes explained how historical demographic trends were used to estimate future service demands which “will become the basis for projecting future (facility) needs for the County which is critical to the process.”

Facility Assessments

The consulting team toured County facilities to assess current space needs and the ability for spaces and buildings to be renovated. Another factor considered is the need to support necessary departmental adjacencies for operational efficiencies.

The assessments found varying quality of office environments and public spaces. Many facilities are adequate and worth preserving such as the courthouse additions, the Emergency Operations Center, and the McCall Annex. Other findings included public accessibility issues and power or mechanical system challenges, especially those related to heating and cooling systems and technology needs. 

“There are opportunities for efficiencies,” said Russ Phillips of Insight Architects, a member of the consulting team, “which can be achieved by maximizing and leveraging current assets to meet future space needs.”

Next Steps

County Commissioners expressed support to move forward with cost projections and to present the findings to a Citizens Committee for its feedback. Cost projections will evaluate several options, including phasing of improvements.

This initial step is part of a multi-phase process that will also include a Comprehensive Financial Plan to ensure funding is in place to implement facility improvements to accommodate projected growth. Together, the two documents will provide long-term strategic guidance for future decisions.

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