Yelm Community Center to receive solar and battery backup

Facility can operate in case of citywide power failure


In case of a major power failure in the city, the Yelm Community Center can be used for emergency services or other purposes after the Yelm City Council approved a contract to provide solar at the facility. 

At its Tuesday, Feb. 13, meeting, the council approved entering a contract with Sphere Solar for the equipment, materials, and installation of a solar and battery backup system at the Yelm Community Center. The contract will not exceed $316,800. 

“We finally have everything worked out with Sphere. We have a grant to pay for everything, along with a reimbursement now that the inflation act has allowed cities to claim the same reimbursement that homeowners can,” Public Works Director Cody Colt said. “This project comes at zero cost to the city at the end.”

He added the project will provide both solar and battery backup in case of a “major power failure.” 

“Now the community center can survive and keep being used for emergency services or other things for multiple days, if there’s sunlight, even longer,” Colt said. “It’s a really cool project to be able to do and provide a space we can use as an emergency center, if needed, or other options. It comes at zero cost for the city and will actually save us money over time because we now won’t have to pay a power bill.” 

Councilor Terry Kaminski asked Colt if the solar and battery backup would include power to the stage, which it will not, Colt said. It will, however, power the community center itself and lights in the parking lot. 

In other action, the council approved an amendment for the creation of dog park rules and a contract for a new vehicle storage building. 

Dog park amendment

Ordinance No. 1110, which was unanimously approved, amended chapter 9.68 and added a section for off-leash dog park rules into the Yelm Municipal Code. Colt said the park rules needed to be amended so the city can create designated areas for off-leash dogs. 

The specific rules for Yelm’s new dog park will be brought before the council at a later date, Colt said. The rules will need council’s approval. 

“We’ll create dog park signs that say ‘no biting.’ If your dog has a known disease, don’t bring your dog here,” Colt said, adding first the council must establish a section to create dog-park rules.

This amendment was added to Yelm Municipal Code to be “defined later,” as stated by Councilor Brian Hess. 

Vehicle storage building

The council unanimously approved a public services contract agreement with C.H.G Building Systems Inc. The contract is not to exceed $168,511.13 for the construction of a 10,400-square-foot steel vehicle storage building.

The vehicle storage building will be located at the Yelm Water Reclamation Facility. 

“If you remember, in this budget, we had budgeted to purchase and build a vehicle storage building. We finally have the building delivered, and now we need to have the contract to construct that building approved,” Colt said. “This is budgeted .... It’s a little under our budget. But this will construct the building and all of the steel that was delivered.”

Colt added the project has a quick timeline, and he expects the vehicle storage building to be constructed and completed by mid-summer.