Cal Water recently held a groundbreaking ceremony to commence construction for its Bayshore District’s new Customer and Operations Center. The new center, which will be located on the existing property, will enhance the customer experience by making district operations more efficient, serve as a local emergency operations center, and be an energy- and water-efficient model for the community.
San Mateo Councilmembers Diane Papan and Rick Bonilla, San Mateo City Manager Larry Patterson, a representative from Assemblyman Kevin Mullin’s office, and local customers were in attendance.
The Bayshore District serves customers living in the San Mateo, San Carlos, and South San Francisco, Calif., areas. For the past 41 years, the district has operated out of the former Turnbull School, which was not suited to house an operations center.
“Over the last 41 years, we have made this facility work. As our legacy to the past, our plan is to keep the two older schoolrooms, which were built in the 1920s,” said District Manager Darin Duncan. “We hope that they can be eventually retrofitted to function as modern classrooms, to help foster the next generation of utility workers serving the community.”
In addition to making the space work better for Cal Water’s operations, the office will also serve as a local emergency response center where government entities, utility providers, and other agencies can come together and operate seamlessly during a crisis.
The new 17,000-square-foot center will be mostly constructed from sustainable materials and will help reduce the district’s energy use. A conservation demonstration garden, named after community activist and champion Bertha Sanchez, will also be installed. Not only will the garden cut down on water use, it will also show local residents options for creating their own water-efficient gardens, according to Duncan.
“As part of Cal Water’s efforts to being a good corporate citizen, we are committed to being good stewards of the environment and using sustainable materials where possible,” said Duncan. “Additionally, by installing a demonstration conservation garden, we are not only cutting back on our water use and setting a good example for our customers, we are essentially creating a low-water-use model where community members can explore the different plants we use to help them make decisions when planting their own low-water-use gardens.”