Courthouse renovation, expansion to come online in October

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Routt County Combined Courts judicial court assistant Bobbe Marshall, left, talks to George Watts while dusting off a clock Thursday before it is moved to the new Routt County Justice Center.

— Wednesday's dedication of the new Routt County Justice Center, and a massive move to the new facility this weekend, clear the way for county officials to renovate the downtown Routt County Courthouse and Courthouse Annex.

Tim Winter, the county's building and plant director, said the upcoming project will preserve the historical courthouse on Lincoln Avenue while utilizing space vacated by the 14th Judicial District. The project includes remodeling the Courthouse Annex to provide additional space for county departments, and bringing the county's Department of Environmental Health and coroner's office to the downtown campus.

Those two departments are currently housed in rental space near Oak and Fourth streets.

After the renovations are completed, the Routt Board of County Commissioners will move its offices and meeting room to the third floor of the courthouse.

County Manager Tom Sul-livan said the project is meant to keep county services in downtown Steamboat.

"The biggest part of this is that we wanted to maintain our county services on our downtown campus," he said. "That's what it's all about."

The entire project is expected to take about a year to complete, Sullivan said, at a cost of about $3.5 million.

The county has received a $1 million Department of Local Affairs Energy Impact grant and a $250,000 State Historical Fund grant for the project. The county intends to apply for a second $250,000 state grant to further fund the project during the grant's next cycle, Sullivan said.

Holmquist-Lorenz Const-ruction has been hired as the project's contractor, Winter said.

Golden-based Andrews & Anderson Architects will handle the design of the project. The company designed Centennial Hall and the new Steamboat Springs Community Center, which is under construction west of downtown.

"We've chosen them because they have a good reputation with historic preservation work," Winter said of Andrews & Anderson. "We've just completed the final designs on everything."

New digs

Winter said the upcoming construction project is contingent on three phases. The first will be the demolition and development of the third floor of the courthouse. The former district courtroom will become the commissioner's meeting room. Offices for the county manager, county attorney and commissioners will be located on that floor, as well as three or four smaller meeting rooms that could eventually become office space, Sullivan said. The first phase also will create space in the former District Attorney's office on the first floor of the annex for the county's road and bridge and personnel departments.

Once the commissioners and other offices vacate the second floor of the annex, the second phase of the project will begin, Winter said.

The annex will be remodeled for the county's planning, geographic information system and information technology departments.

The third phase of the project will develop as the project moves forward, but should create space for the county's building department - where county planning currently is located, Winter said.

Environmental Health Direc-tor Mike Zopf said moving from the department's "sweet little house" back onto the main campus will streamline his job.

"It would be more efficient for us to be with the offices we work most closely with, which is planning and building," he said. "We're thrilled."

Fitting in place

Winter likened the upcoming project to a puzzle.

"It's like one of those Chinese or tin puzzles where you have to move one piece to get another one in," he said. "That's how I think of my remodel projects."

Sullivan said the $250,000 historical fund grant will be used to reseal the courthouse's roof and make the courthouse's 102 windows more energy efficient.

Other projects include replacing the courthouse's mechanical system and lighting, also for energy efficiency.

Talk of putting solar panels on the courthouse is underway but not confirmed, Sullivan said.

"We're committed to using this building, keeping it and maintaining it," Winter said. "The intent is to keep the county presence on the downtown campus even though the courts moved out west. The county operations will remain."

Because the courts have moved out of the building, traffic congestion shouldn't be a problem, Winter said. The construction company will use the 10 to 12 parking spaces in the courthouse's east lot for construction trailers and other equipment, he said.

"We'll be monitoring it and making whatever changes we need to," he said.

Winter said work on the courthouse could begin Oct. 1.

Comments

id04sp 7 years, 3 months ago

The price tag for the commissioners having things convenient for themselves is now going on $21,500,000 (new injustice center and old courthouse renovation).

This is a disgrace and an abomination. This is an ENRON-magnitude abuse of other people's money for personal gain.

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addlip2U 7 years, 3 months ago

"Golden-based Andrews & Anderson Architects will handle the design of the project. The company designed Centennial Hall and the new Steamboat Springs Community Center, which is under construction west of downtown. "We've chosen them because they have a good reputation with historic preservation work," Winter said of Andrews & Anderson. "

The Community Center, currently under construction, is NOT a historic preservation building.
The lack of attractive, functional design reflect that this"historic preservation architectural firm" lack the experience in New Building Design.
There are/were Architectural firms (local included) with experience, that could have provided a better and functional design of the Steamboat Community Center building.

County Commissioners should support local businesses!

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id04sp 7 years, 3 months ago

What ever happened to the "lowest responsive bidder?"

Does anybody else smell "kickbacks."

This is a situation that should be closely scrutinized for conflicts of interest.

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bubba 7 years, 3 months ago

Arthur Anderson= Enron's Accountant Andrews & Anderson= Routt County's Architect.

Coincidence? I think not!

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id04sp 7 years, 3 months ago

cyborg --

The U. S. Attorney is the person who needs to do it.

All of us, as individuals, need to write to him in Denver and complain about this situation.

As a private citizen, I have no ability to look into the financial records necessary to prove that anything is going on. Take at look at the Chairman's house on the Routt County Assessor website, including the photo. No evidence of kickbacks there, I'm afraid. No different from the records on my own property. No reason to suspect wrongdoing from the outward appearances.

These people are smart enough to bury the money under two or three layers of transactions. For example, how about getting a "deal" on real estate in another county, or another state, and then reselling it later. There are building lots in Clark that have changed hands for $10 via quit claim deed, and then been resold for $50,000 and up a few months later. Transactions small enough to not need a mortgage or a title policy are completely under the radar. The money doesn't come home until the property is ultimately sold for a large amount. The IRS never knows a thing until a transaction over $10,000 occurs and the entity or agent involved actually files the required reports to the IRS.

The payoff can be made to parents, children, family members, friends, business associates, etc. As long as it eventually finds its way into the proper pockets, who cares? Even a private company putting someone on the payroll who never reports for work is a fool-proof way to make it happen.

The U. S. Attorney and FBI, and maybe the IRS, are the only entities with the power to get to the bottom of it. One person can't do it, and believe it or not, I do have a full-time job. It's just one of those jobs that gives me time to hang out here posting messages while my batch runs execute. My boss doesn't care, because he knows the job is so boring that I'd go elsewhere if I had to just sit and wait until my data was ready for the next step.

The local governments and state government are full of corruption because average people don't notice it and take action. Most people give up after three "clicks." This makes it very easy for crooks to get away with diverting public money into private pockets, or to use the power of the state for personal and political gain, because it's just too hard to get the details unless you are close to the problem and can watch it. Well, unfortunately, in Routt County we are now seeing it and need to take action.

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