Progress continues for construction of Routt County’s new Health and Human Services building
Construction for the Routt County Health and Human Services building is on track, with the new facility set to open its doors May 1, possibly under budget.
Despite setbacks due to a nationwide delay of rooftop heating units and difficulties that accompany winter construction, the timeline for construction remains unaffected.
“If it weren’t for the roof supply issues, we could have this building done in 30-45 days, that’s how much progress has been made,” Commissioner Tim Corrigan said. “Yet, until we get permanent heat everything is on hold. We cannot take chances with the building freezing.”
Some of the tile and other materials are sensitive to temperature changes. Even though the building has temporary heat inside, the risk of things freezing would hinder construction severely.
As someone who spent decades in a professional building structures similar to this one, Corrigan commends the construction crew for the work.
“One thing that has been very gratifying to me — and it’s something we can all take credit for, Wember, our owner’s representative, our architect, our general contractor and our internal team in the county — is the quality of work,” Corrigan noted as he led a tour through the building on Wednesday, Jan. 11. “For 30 years I built these kinds of structures and I can tell you the quality of this work here is extremely high, I would be proud to put my name on it if it was my business.”
Even with provisions to the original plan, the project could end up costing less than previously expected.
“Out of our budget we still have about $450,000 of contingency money,” Corrigan said. “Unless things go awry, we are not going to spend all that money, so that money will be coming back to the county’s general funding.”
The building, neighboring the Routt County Building Department, is lined with large windows that provide views of Butcher-knife Creek, Howelsen Hill, and Oak Street. Accessible sidewalks wrap around the building and lead into a parking lot with electric vehicle chargers.
The parking lot sits outside a room open for public access that Corrigan looks forward to putting to use. The space features an industrial kitchen and has been identified as a possible location to hold future elections.
“Our Colorado State University Extension department specifically is really excited about this space because a lot of the things they do involve food preparation and teaching groups how to preserve food. This will be great for them,” Corrigan said of the room, for which he also designed a light traffic detail plan for.
The front of the new building will have an entrance specifically for people looking to get vaccines or be tested for illnesses. The Health Services space will be found in the downstairs portion of the building, while Human Services will be upstairs.
Corrigan emphasized the necessity of this project, as he said an estimated 30% of Routt County residents use Medicaid benefits.
Routt County also committed around $80,000 worth of local artwork to fill the building. Corrigan and former Commissioner Beth Melton remarked that the hope is to use artwork that reflects the human condition.
The new Health and Human Services move-in date also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Routt County Courthouse, which will have its own celebration in September.
Kit Geary is the county, public safety and education reporter. To reach her, call 970-871-4229 or email her at kgeary@SteamboatPilot.com.
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