Routt County Health and Human Services building project ‘as close to plan as you could hope’

A year ago the building's price tag jumped 40%, but has remained stable since

A construction fence in front of the new Health and Human Services Building at Sixth and Pine streets in downtown Steamboat Springs on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022 keeps the public safe as crews continue to work on the new county building. Completion is still expected in March.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Construction at Routt County’s new Health and Human Services building is progressing as crews work to close up the building before snow hits town.

Despite supply chain challenges that continue to delay the arrival of some products, the project is still slated to finish in March within the building’s $14.1 million price tag.

“This project has gone about as close to plan as you could hope for a project of this scale,” said Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan. “Having worked through some really difficult stuff earlier in this project, it’s pretty gratifying to see us proceed along and getting toward the finish line.”

From the outside, the building is starting to more closely resemble a graphic of it that has been sitting in the commissioners hearing room for more than a year. Much of the brickwork is in, exterior siding is going up and windows are slated to be finished later this month.

But Quentin Rockwell, a project manager for Wember Inc. representing the county on the project, said even more work in the last month has been happening inside, including finishing most of the drywall on the building’s main floor. While drywall work overall is lagging behind schedule, Rockwell said he didn’t think it would impact the overall project timeline.

The goal over the last few months has been to get the building to “dry in,” meaning it is complete enough so it can withstand the winter elements. Rockwell said he felt the building was “essentially there,” though there are still “a few things to button up.”

“We just need to be ready for any kind of additional winter protection that we just know is a risk in the climate that we build in,” Rockwell said, referring to needing to temporarily heat the building to complete interior work. Some of these costs are already considered in the current budget, Rockwell said.

The other significant risk on the project is with the supply chain. Rockwell said they are still seeing delays with mechanical equipment, like roof top HVAC units, as well as other information technology, audiovisual and security equipment.

“Every project we’ve worked, we’re seeing a lot of unique challenges that maybe in years past we haven’t experienced,” Rockwell said. “Now, it’s just kind of the norm.”

The cost to install locally produced artwork in the building also is yet to be determined, but as of now, Rockwell said he didn’t expect any of this to overwhelm the project’s budget.

About a year ago, commissioners learned the cost for the building had jumped about 40% from an earlier estimate of $9.8 million because of increased costs for structural steel, wood and labor.

Since then, the cost has largely held steady and there is still about a 5% contingency left, which amounts to about $610,000 between the county and the general contractor, Calcon Constructors.

The amount of money set aside as a contingency has dropped in the last month, but Rockwell said he wasn’t concerned with how much was left at this stage of the project.

“I think we just need to be conscious and very aware of how we’re utilizing our contingency and any risks that we know are out there,” Rockwell said. “With this level of contingency, I feel that gives us the appropriate amount of money we need to be able to do that.”

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