Jail expansion may start soon

Frances Hohl

— A year ago, Routt County put its jail expansion out to bid, but nobody wanted the job. Although County Property Manager Tim Winter sent out eight to 10 plans, not one bid came in. He blamed it on the “construction climate” where builders had their pick of lucrative construction projects in a busy resort town.

Now, a year later, Winter is a lot more hopeful.

“It’s a better market,” Winter said. “There’s considerably more interest in this project.”

There could be several reasons for the renewed interest in the county’s jail expansion a bigger budget for one.

Last year, it was estimated it would take $200,000 to add a sally port, two holding cells, kitchen space and a major 911 center expansion.

The county has now budgeted about a half-million dollars on the expansion.

“When there is a legitimate budget for the amount of work required, there’s obviously more interest,” said general contractor Tom Fox of Fox Construction.

“A project without an adequate budget doesn’t work for anybody.”

While Fox has his plate full and won’t bid on the project, he said there are some new companies in town looking for work. It’s also his opinion that commercial work has thinned out a little from last year.

County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said the higher budget for the jail expansion was needed for two reasons.

“We expanded what we were doing in the communications (911) department,” she said.

“We’re creating more space for them.”

She also said they looked at more “realistic costs” of doing the project.

Winter hopes to have at least three bids on the jail expansion.

The deadline for the jailhouse bid is Aug. 24.

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