Kamas facilities building remains on track
September 20, 2016
The plans to start constructing a new county services building in the Kamas Valley this year were nearly thwarted when construction bids came in at nearly $1 million over budget.
The Summit County Council allocated approximately $5.5 million for the new 18,000-square-foot Summit County Services Building, which houses the Kamas branch of the Summit County Library, DMV and county medical services, such as Valley Behavioral Health. However, when the county recently solicited bids for building and site construction, the lowest bid was more than $900,000 over the total budget.
"That was a bit concerning to us. What we have done, without compromising the size and utility or quality of the building, is we have been able to cut off about $500,000," said Matt Jensen, Summit County's risk and procurement administrator who is overseeing the project.
Last week, staff asked the County Council to consider authorizing Summit County Manager Tom Fisher to finalize an increased budget of $5.9 million and award the project. Other options included an additional meeting to review funding or delay construction until the spring of 2017.
"The council wasn't keen to do that and they understand the desire and excitement of Kamas to get that building up," Jensen said. "The discussion last week was more or less saying we still have to make up about $400,000 which direction do you want to go?
"The discussion was slated for 45 minutes, but we probably went for almost an hour and half while the council grilled us about why we missed the mark," he said.
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Jensen attributed the increased estimates to a rise in overall construction costs, including the materials needed for making the building more sustainable.
The issue was reexamined on Monday during a special meeting as part of the County Council retreat. After council members discussed the cost-saving measures, they approved the new budget.
The additional money needed for construction will be taken from the county's general and municipal funds, Jensen said, adding the council may also consider a tax bond.
"Because of the overage on this budget and a couple other projects, we do have a municipal sales tax bond that we could renew it," Jensen said. "The bonding issue would help alleviate stress on things and get us going. It would just need to be approved through the County Council."
The county is hoping to start construction on the new building before the end of the month. The two-story building will accommodate previous services, in addition to a new senior center, a 1,900-square-foot space for public meetings and an 800-square-foot computer classroom.
All the services that were housed in the Kamas County Service Building, including the library, county health department, Valley Behavioral Health and the Department of Motor Vehicles, were relocated to temporary locations throughout Kamas after the building was demolished.
"We want to have the foundation and framework up so they can get inside during the winter months," Jensen said. "We don't have a building right now in that space. I know the library and the health department are anxious to get into a new building that will be three times the space they used to have."
An open house is expected to be held sometime in October to show the design and construction details to the public. A date has not been scheduled.
"The people of the Kamas Valley area are very excited about this," Jensen said. "We will be looking forward to the open house to let them get a full read of the project. There have been a lot of questions and excitement surrounding this."
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