Justice center plans move ahead | SteamboatToday.com

Justice center plans move ahead

Plan could go to bid in June, but wetland fill permit must be resolved

Susan Cunningham

Architects are working on construction details for the new Routt County justice center with the goal of offering the plan for bid in June.

Under that schedule, the project could be awarded in late June, and construction could begin soon after, keeping the county on track to build the facility by Sept. 1, 2006.

The wetland fill permit the county needs from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could delay the project, said Tim Winter, Routt County purchasing and property manager.

The public comment period on the permit has closed, and the county has been told the application and responses likely will not be read until the week of March 22 or later.

At that point, Frisco Regulatory Office Chief Tony Curtis may have further questions or may require additional information from the county.

“If he chooses to hold hearings, obviously we won’t get a decision back as early,” Winter said.

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In a worst-case scenario, the county may not be able to go out to bid with the project until early 2005, which would make construction tight but doable as the architectural plans already are completed, Winter said.

If granted, the permit would allow the county to fill about 1.4 acres of wetlands on the 5-acre parcel south of the Routt County Jail along Shield Drive, where the 50,000-square-foot justice center is planned.

The project also is moving through the city of Steamboat Springs’ planning process. The city’s Technical Advisory Committee has seen the plans, and the city Planning Commission will hear the plans April 8. There will be an April 27 hearing before the City Council.

As project planning continues, the cost of the building frequently is updated, Winter said. The county constantly looks for ways to save money while building a quality structure, he said.

Cost is estimated at $15.5 million, including contingency and escalation costs.

The recent increase in the price of steel could impact the cost of the structure, Winter said. In the past few months, those increases mean the county could pay 30 percent more for steel, or an additional $170,000.

Another potential cost increase could result from higher gasoline prices, as building materials have to be shipped by freight and truck, Winter said.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com