The Kuna Post Office is expected to finish a long-awaited relocation project this May, moving operations from its current space to the former Freedom Fitness building at 693 E. Wythe Creek Court.

Construction has been underway since Sep. 6 to convert the former gym into a post office, according to a public notice posted on the new site.

Government contractor Northern Management Services has until Sep. 5, 2020, to complete renovations. The contractor was unavailable for comment on the status of the project before publication.

Despite the posted September deadline, the United States Postal Service estimates that the project will be finished by May, spokesman Brian Sperry said in an email.

After eight other attempts by Kuna Post Office officials to relocate to a larger facility since 1998, the move was approved by federal officials in 2017. These attempts were all approved at first, but then later denied, the Kuna Melba News previously reported. The former postmaster cited lack of funding as a potential reason for USPS’s reversals.

The Postal Service called the current office “severely deficient in space” in a press release, and Kuna Melba News previously reported that the facility is so cramped that a room intended for storage now has to be used to sort the mail of Kuna’s growing population.

After gathering public input and considering several possible sites, the Freedom Fitness building was selected. The new location is roughly 7,000 square feet, which will nearly triple the size of the current 2,400-square-foot facility.

The new space, sitting less than a mile from the current post office on Main Street, will include two retail windows, 636 post office boxes and several parcel lockers. It will offer the same services as the current location, Sperry said.

No decision has been made on what will become of the Postal Service’s current space in May. The Postal Service is leasing the building, Kuna Mayor Joe Stear said.

“We’ll probably work through our economic development director, Lisa Holland, to decide,” he said.

The project has been entirely funded by the Postal Service so far. If there is any cost to the city, it will be related to improvements made to the building in the future.

“The only thing we would ever see costs on is when they come in and apply for permits for tenant improvements,” Stear said. The city hasn’t received any permit requests for the project yet.

With the new office’s opening approaching quickly, city officials have been working with the Ada County Highway District to accelerate improvements on the intersection of Avalon Street and Kay Avenue. These crossroads will become busier when the new location opens, since customers will have to travel through this intersection to access the new office, Stear said. Multiple fender benders have already been reported at this intersection as cars turn from five-lane Avalon Street onto two-lane Kay Avenue.

Safety upgrades to the intersection, Stear said, could include a new motion-sensor traffic light.

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