New Health and Human Services building to feature work by Routt County artists |

New Health and Human Services building to feature work by Routt County artists

Project still on track to move in county employees in March

Crews are working to get Routt Count's new Health and Human Services building to a "dry in" stage on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, so work can continue once the snow flies.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Routt County is working on an effort to line the halls of the new Health and Human Services Building with locally produced pieces of art.

Purchasing Director Julie Kennedy said the county is working with Steamboat Creates to pull together a request asking local artists to submit ideas for pieces in the building, which will eventually house the county’s Public Health and Human Services departments.

“We want all local art,” Kennedy said. “This seems like a great opportunity because it is such a community center when you’re talking about human services and public health. Look at all the needs we meet with that one building.”

The budget for these art installations hasn’t been set yet, but Kennedy said it is “enough to get the local art community involved.” Based on the designs of the building there are between five and 10 spots where a significant piece could go, she said.

She noted that while the panoramic mountain photos that can be found in both the County Commissioner’s Office and Centennial Hall where Steamboat Springs City Council meets are great, the hope is this art could focus more on the human condition.

“Whether it’s a sculpture, whether it’s ceramic, whether it’s textiles, we want people to come with their ideas and their expertise,” Kennedy said.

Art proposals will be picked by a larger group of stakeholders, of which the county will have a representative. While not ready yet, Kennedy told Commissioners on Monday, Aug. 1, that she hopes to have a request for proposal ready for approval next week. Steamboat Creates will manage the proposals.

Masonry work has started on Routt County’s new Health and Human Services Building on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. The stone is meant to match with the color of the historic Routt County Courthouse across the street.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The money for art is not yet factored into the $14 million budget for the building, which, according to an update to commissioners on Monday, is still slated to be finished on time and within that budget. Move-in is projected for March 2023.

Quentin Rockwell, a project manager for Wember Inc. that is representing the county on the project, said the big push right now it to get the building to “dry in,” or ensure work can continue inside when the weather turns colder in the coming months.

There is still a 6.3% contingency in the building’s $14.1 million budget between money set aside for potential cost increases by both Steamboat-based general contractor, Calcon Constructors and the county. That is a slight reduction in the contingency from earlier this summer, which Rockwell said is expected.

“You don’t want to leave the contingency whole the entire time because at some point you want to put that money to good use,” Rockwell said. “The numbers are still comfortable given the amount of time that is ahead of us.”

“We’re not opposed to returning dollars to the general fund at the end of this project,” said Commissioner Tim Corrigan in response to talk about the contingency.

Rockwell said one risk still facing the project is a complicated supply chain for a variety of products. Steve Faulkner, the county’s facilities manager, said most of the heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment, lighting fixtures and masonry are in hand. 

But other items have lead times so long they may not arrive when the building is complete, he added. The lead time for information technology equipment is 35 weeks and much of the audio visual equipment likely wouldn’t arrive for almost a year.

“That’s not going to stop us from moving into the building,” Faulkner said.

Corrigan, a former contractor, said despite Rockwell’s caution about potential risks still ahead of them on the project, he was optimistic about being able to stick to the budget.

“Surely some of (the remaining contingency) will get used, but I’m feeling like we’re in pretty good shape at this stage in the project,” Corrigan said.

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