Combined law enforcement facility takes shape in west Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — To many, the new combined law enforcement facility on the west side of Steamboat Springs looks like nothing but concrete, steel and earth.
But when Steamboat City Manager Gary Suiter views the site, he sees something different.
“It’s a big deal for the city and the county, and it’s a big deal for the residents and visitors as well,” Suiter said. “It’s a role model project in the state, and we are very proud of it.”
After years of back-and-forth discussion, the Steamboat Springs City Council and Routt County commissioners, with input from a citizens groups, were able to come to an agreement to build a new 25,908-square-foot facility, which will house the city’s police department, the sheriff’s department and an emergency communications center when added to the existing sheriff’s office.
Construction on the new facility began in late April and is progressing as planned, according to Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan.
“Everything is on track,” Sullivan said.
The facility is expected to be completed by May 2019. Once the new building is finished, crews will begin renovating the former Routt County Sheriff’s Office — a project that is expected to be completed by October of next year.
The project budget was capped at $16,542,299, and the decision to lock in steel prices earlier this summer helped the project stay on budget.
“I would assume that it saved us money,” Suiter said. “As soon as there was talk about tariffs and trade wars, the steel suppliers raised their prices 10 percent in 30 days. We were like ‘holy cow, we need to jump on this boat quickly and lock down these steel prices. So far we are on budget and on time.”
“I think both sides (the city and the county) understand that the goal is to build something that the community can be proud of,” said City Council President Pro-Tem Kathi Meyer, who has been representing the city at bi-weekly construction meetings.
Meyer said she is thrilled with the way the city and the county have come together on the project. She also believes the benefits of the shared effort go beyond the building process. She said the police and sheriff’s offices will each have their own space but will share a briefing room, locker room, interview room and evidence storage space.
“One of the things we really hope happens is this cross pollination of ideas and best practices, and you can’t put a dollar figure on that,” Meyer said. “If we ever have an emergency, and we have to have both the sheriff and police respond I don’t care what color they have on. We hope this will build synergy.”
Combining the space also cut costs.
“We figure that in the shared space we have 7,000 feet that we avoided duplicating,” Meyer said. “That alone was a savings of $2 million.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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