Item Coversheet
MEETING DATE:  12/15/2021New Business 13. a.
TO:Honorable Mayor and City Council
FROM:Christian Clegg, City Manager

Agreement with RYMAC General Contracting, Inc. to complete tenant improvements to the Brundage Lane Navigation Center:


  1. Approve Amendment No. 1 to Agreement No. 2021-245 increasing the compensation amount of Agreement No. 2021-245 by $6,014,704.00 to allow for the completion of the construction phase of the BLNC tenant improvement project.
  2. Appropriate and transfer $5,814,704 from Public Safety Vital Services – Measure N unappropriated sales tax revenues to the Public Works Department Capital Improvement Project budget within the PSVS-Measure N Capital Outlay Fund.

Staff recommends approval of the agreement and fund transfer.

On January 22, 2020, the Bakersfield City Council authorized the purchase of 17 acres of property at 1900 East Brundage Lane for the development of a 150-bed emergency shelter known as the Brundage Lane Navigation Center (BLNC).  The BLNC welcomed its first guests on October 26, 2020. In its first year in operation, the BLNC has been an overwhelming success, providing  over 700 individuals with wrap-around health, mental health and housing services. The BLNC has matched over 100 individuals with permanent housing - thereby removing them from our streets.


In the last month, on average 70 individuals per week have been willing to enter the BLNC but have been turned away due to full capacity.  We expect the number of individuals seeking shelter to climb in the winter months and as the City’s Code Enforcement Rapid Response Teams make a concerted effort to clear entrenched encampments on the Kern River and other areas. 


On October 20, 2021, Council authorized staff to research opportunities to expand BLNC’s capacity and programming to have an even greater impact on our homeless crisis.  Since then, staff have analyzed data on BLNC capacity and turnaways and examined populations of the homeless community that can be better served by congregate shelters in the City of Bakersfield. The City  engaged RYMAC General Contracting, Inc. (RYMAC) to explore how the City can best utilize the 15,000 square feet of unused space at the 67,000 square foot BLNC campus to accomplish the City’s goal of moving homeless individuals off our streets and into permanent housing. RYMAC was selected based on their thorough knowledge of the BLNC facility having worked on the initial construction project.


Staff recommends that: (1) Council approve Amendment No. 1 to Agreement No. 2021-245 increasing the compensation amount of Agreement No. 2021-245 by $6,014,704.00 to allow for the completion of the construction phase of the BLNC tenant improvement project; and, (2) appropriate and transfer $5,814,704.00 from Public Safety Vital Services – Measure N unappropriated sales tax revenues to the Public Works Department Capital Improvement Project budget within the PSVS-Measure N Capital Outlay Fund. 




The 150-bed BLNC operates under a low-barrier model, allowing pets, a dorm for partners, and the storage of possessions.  A critical component of the navigation center has been community partnerships to link guests with comprehensive on-site services in a 7,911 square foot service provider wing including:


  • Primary care from Kern Medical thereby helping to alleviate our regions emergency rooms; 

  • Mental health and substance abuse treatment from Kern County Department of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services; and, 

  • Connection to resources through the Kern Department of Human Services. 


Each BLNC guest is matched with a Housing Navigator that provides the intake, casework and housing locater services. The caseworker title of “Housing Navigator” symbolizes the top priority of shelter operator Mercy House – to move unsheltered individuals off the streets and into self-sufficiency through permanent housing placement. 


The BLNC is a closed campus with a shuttle system that brings guests to appointments and work.  Guests sign an agreement upon entry detailing behavior expectations and Mercy House security monitors the perimeter through cameras and regular patrols.  Calls for service to the Police Department in the area surrounding the shelter have remained flat.  The City of Bakersfield and Mercy House remain committed to being a good neighbor to the surrounding community. 


The City Manager’s office receives weekly reports from contractors Mercy House and Flood Ministries detailing shelter occupancy numbers and street outreach outcomes. Each week the City Manager’s Office meets with the BLNC Director and a representative from Mercy House Headquarters to review the data and discuss the condition of the City facility and opportunities for improvements in services. Every other week, the City Manager’s Office holds a meeting with the BLNC Referral Network including a Lieutenant from the Bakersfield Police Department, the Director of Bakersfield Code Enforcement, the Director of the BLNC, the CEO of Flood Ministries and representatives from Mercy House Headquarters and the Kern County Department of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services to discuss outcomes at the BLNC. 




Each night the shelter holds four beds open for emergency placements by the Bakersfield Police Department.  Besides the four beds set-aside for BPD, the Brundage Lane Navigation Center has continually reached full capacity on available bed space.  In the last month, an average of 70 people a week have expressed interest in entering the BLNC to street outreach contractor Flood Ministries but have been turned away.


The following is a percentage breakdown of turnaways due to capacity by reason and population:


  • 40% due to capacity in the couple’s dorm 

  • 21% due to capacity in the men’s dorm 

  • 16% due to pet capacity – couples 

  • 11% due to pet capacity – female 

  • 9% due to capacity in the female dorm 

  • 4% due to pet capacity – males 


In addition, there are 67 clients in the BLNC that have been matched with housing vouchers that have been waiting for placement in affordable housing units.  The current shortage of affordable housing units creates pressure on available shelter beds when they become available.


While the BLNC has quickly become a critical asset in addressing homelessness, there is significant remaining need in our community.


Despite the City and County funding the creation of 400 new shelter beds during 2020, doubling the number of available shelter beds in the greater Bakersfield area, there is still a demand for additional beds.  The 2020 Point in Time Count identified that there are 842 unsheltered individuals in our community.


While there are multiple solutions that our regional collaborative needs to pursue, such as affordable housing, mental health treatment and substance abuse programs, it is evident that an unmet demand remains for individuals seeking shelter bed space at the BLNC. 




On October 20, 2021, Council voted to approve a resolution to waive normal bidding requirements and enter into an agreement with RYMAC, Inc. for the conceptual design, exploratory demolition, and cost estimating of the most beneficial remodel of selective portions of the BLNC. Since receiving authorization to research possible tenant improvements at the BLNC to improve homeless services, staff have held a number of meetings with Mercy House, the Bakersfield Public Works Department, the Bakersfield Police Department, the Bakersfield Code Enforcement Division, Kern Medical, hospital representatives, RYMAC, Inc. and architects.


Based on findings from this analysis, staff recommends the following tenant improvements at the BLNC: 


Construction of two new men’s dorms Construction of two new men’s dorms would bring single male capacity from 76 to 109 beds.  The existing men’s dorm would convert to a women’s dorm bringing single female capacity from 54 to 76 beds. The existing women’s dorm would convert to a couple’s dorm bringing couple capacity from 10 couples/20 individuals to 32 couples/64 individuals. The total occupancy, not including a possible 20 bed isolation dorm, would rise from 150 to 249.  


Approximately 60% of unsheltered individuals in the City of Bakersfield are male. 21% of the 70 weekly turnaways at the BLNC are single males.


Construction of expanded pet kennels. Construction of expanded pet kennels would bring total pet occupancy from 15 pets to 50 pets.


The lack of space for pets in local shelters remains one of the largest challenges to getting unsheltered individuals off the streets. Most individuals would rather stay with their pet and refuse services then be separated from their companion.  In the entire regional shelter system, there are only 25 spaces for pets – 15 at the BLNC and 10 at the County’s M Street Navigation Center. 31% of the 70 weekly turnaways at the BLNC are due to pets. The addition of 35 pet kennels would be transformative to homeless services in the region. 


Construction of a new recuperative care dorm. Construction of a 20-bed recuperative care dorm at the BLNC would more than triple the current 6-bed recuperative care capacity in the City of Bakersfield. 


Recent changes in California law require that hospitals establish a place of residence for stabilized patients before discharge.  Local hospitals struggle with finding a place to discharge stabilized unsheltered patients and have approached the City to consider establishing a specialized dorm at the BLNC to provide care for those individuals well enough to be discharged from a hospital but not well enough to enter the general population of a congregate shelter.  The BLNC would host a new recuperative care dorm that is staffed, equipped, and paid for by local hospitals.  Once patients are well enough, they would be discharged into the general population of the BLNC where caseworkers will work to find them permanent housing. 


Remodeled Case Worker Office Bank. A remodel of the case worker office bank would allow for an increase of caseworkers from 6 to 11. 


Caseworkers connect BLNC guests with health, mental health and permanent housing locator services. The current caseworker office configuration is disjointed – a result of multiple additions over the years by the previous building owner. A remodel would ensure that the caseworker offices are condensed to fit more caseworkers into a functional, contiguous spacethat provides a direct line of sight for the safety of guests and shelter staff.  A remodel of the caseworker wing would require the relocation of the Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative (BKRHC) across the hall into newly constructed offices.  The City of Bakersfield provides the BKRHC with offices free of rent and utilities to facilitate regional homeless collaboration. 


Dining Area Expansion. A relocation of four offices adjacent to the current cafeteria would allow for a 1,280 square foot expansion to the existing 4,465 square foot dining area. 


There is currently a call center, records storage area and classroom adjacent to the existing dining room occupying 1,280 square feet of space. By removing the walls in the 1,280 square foot space and creating double doors into the existing dining room, a new multi-purpose space would be established that can be used as dining overflow during mealtimes and as a large classroom or meeting space for group therapies or classes during other times.  The call center would be relocated to the service provider wing and the records storage would be moved to the basement. 


Construction of new offices for Bakersfield Code Enforcement Rapid Response Teams (Code RRT). A new 1,393 square foot office space would provide offices for managers, team meeting space and a break room for the City crews that engage homeless individuals. 


Code RRT’s are responsible for responding on behalf of the City to reports of encampments and trespassing. The Code Enforcement RRT’s engage encampments, dispatch street outreach contractor Flood Ministries to convince individuals to enter the BLNC, store abandoned personal belongings, and clean up any junk, trash and debris left over.  Code RRT has run out of space on City properties to store heavy equipment used for clean ups and will begin storing vehicles in the staff parking lot of the BLNC.  Continued expansion of Code RRT and the ongoing space challenges for City staff have resulted in the need for additional office space for managers, team meetings and a break room for those deployed to heavy equipment stored in the BLNC staff parking lot. 


Designated Smoking Area/Patio off Men’s Dorm. A new designated smoking area adjacent to the new men’s dorms would provide an additional 1,176 square feet of outdoor open space to the existing 4,118 square feet of co-ed outdoor patio space. 


The newly constructed men’s dorm would be in the opposite corner of the existing outdoor co-ed space requiring men to traverse the 67,000 square foot building to go outside. Staff are concerned that this may result in smoking in the men’s bathroom in the City building.  A patio would facilitate the smoking of cigarettes outside and away from the building. 


Construction of Expanded Guest Parking Lot. An expanded parking lot would allow for an increase in guest parking spaces from 20 to 63. 


The 20-space guest parking lot at the BLNC is consistently full. Unsheltered individuals typically turn down a shelter bed if they must be separated from their vehicle.  The availability of guest parking on site helps the Bakersfield Police Department with moving individuals living in cars, off the street, into the BLNC and connected with services.


Green SpaceA dirt lot on the BLNC campus between the main building and a fence on the property line can be turned into a 21,251 square foot outdoor recreational space. 


Additional green space with trees and benches in a parklike setting would provide additional recreational space for a possible increase in shelter capacity, add to the curb appeal of the BLNC campus and serve as an alternative to loitering in City parks. 


Generator.  A new generator would replace the existing undersized system. 


The current generator is badly aged and not connected to certain portions of the building including the unused space which would host a possible recuperative care dorm. The lack of lighting throughout the building during power outages has been a safety concern for staff and guests. 




Based on staff recommendations, RYMAC, Inc. provided an itemized estimate of the cost for BLNC facility improvements. Staff have separated the estimate in two sections – baseline expansion and value-added options. The Baseline option would allow for the addition of two men’s dorms and the infrastructure necessary to accommodate that expansion. The value-added options allow for a more comprehensive investment in the BLNC to expand services to fill gaps in the homeless services system, add infrastructure to attract and retain guests, expand City staff offices and make recommended capital investments to the aging building and equipment. 

Baseline Expansion




Demolition/General Miscellaneous






Men’s Dorms 1 & 2



Case Worker Office Remodel



Call Center/Administrative Area



Mens Restroom/Hallway



Project Management



Project Contingency









Value Added Options




Recuperative Care Dorm



Code RRT Office



Covered Outdoor Space



Parking/Green Space/Kennel



New Generator System



Project Management



Project Contingency









Total with Value Adds





Initial tenant improvements to the BLNC in 2020 were completed almost entirely by Public Works, Recreation and Parks and Technology Services staff. This had a serious impact on City staff’s ability to complete other Council priorities in 2020 including improving streets and medians while departments were all hands-on deck, working seven days a week to quickly rehabilitate the BLNC and have it open for guests in October 2020. By contracting out the work, City staff can remain focused on planned projects to deliver Council Goals. It is anticipated that consolidating all of the improvements in one contract will result in long-term savings rather than accomplishing the project in phases. 


The  City intends to leverage state and federal funding including the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for the proposed expansion just as the City did with the CARES Act during the initial tenant improvements in 2020. It is expected that a majority of the PSVS-Measure N investments in the proposed expansion will be offset by ARPA funds available to the BLNC.


 Additionally, the City  believes that the $668,543 recuperative care dorm cost can be reimbursed by the state through the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) program rolling out in January 2022.  In addition, there are $200,000 remaining capital funds unexpended from he initial BLNC construction project.  These funds are available to offset the overall costs for this expansion project. 


The City has worked with RYMAC General Contracting, Inc. in the past – most notably with the rehabilitation of the Police Academy Building and initial improvements to the BLNC.  With each of the previous projects, staff have found RYMAC, Inc. to be diligent, fair and on-budget.  Use of the design-build process also allows for more careful construction cost estimates.  Based on these past experiences, staff believe that while it is wise to establish a sufficient project contingency, that it is unlikely that the contingency funds will be fully expended, and funds will be returned.


Impacts to operational costs will continue to be refined and presented to Council at a later dateHowever, it is worth noting that if all BLNC facility improvement options are selected including the value-added options, shelter operator Mercy House estimates the cost of annual operations to rise by $2,559,263 from the current annual operating cost of $3,184,247 which is paid for utilizing PSVS-Measure N.  As a result of positive PSVS revenue trends, sufficient funds will be available to support an increase in ongoing costs at the BLNC.  The furniture and fixtures necessary for any facility improvement to the BLNC would be paid for utilizing U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Emergency Solutions Grants. 


Staff recommends that: (1) Council approve Amendment No. 1 to Agreement No. 2021-245 increasing the compensation amount of Agreement No. 2021-245 by $6,014,704.00 to allow for the completion of the construction phase of the BLNC tenant improvement project; and, (2) appropriate and transfer $5,814,704.00  from Public Safety Vital Services – Measure N unappropriated sales tax revenues to the Public Works Department Capital Improvement Project budget within the PSVS-Measure N Capital Outlay Fund. 

Amendment No. 1 to Agreement with RymacAgreement
Exhibit A - BLNC Facility Improvement BudgetBackup Material
BLNC Facility Improvement Draft FloorplanBackup Material
Presentation from CMOPresentation