Work will continue on new Routt County Health and Human Services building through winter |

Work will continue on new Routt County Health and Human Services building through winter

The building should be complete by early 2023

Work on the new Routt County Health and Human Services building will continue through the winter, with steel anticipated to arrive on-site in February.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

A lack of snow and warmer weather hasn’t helped Steamboat Resort in its opening week, but it has helped crews working on Routt County’s new Health and Human Services building.

Initial plans were to work until the snow got deep, then take a break for a few months, picking it back up in the spring. But the balmy weather is allowing crews to forge ahead, and they are now expected to work through the winter.

“We want to keep going as long as Mother Nature lets us,” said Steve Faulkner, the county’s maintenance manager. “If we had like 4 feet of snow blow in here in a few days, that might slow us down a little bit, because we would be digging out.”

The other thing that could slow down progress on the project is delays getting raw materials, Faulkner said. Materials costs, especially steel, have skyrocketed during the pandemic and ballooned the expected cost of the building to more than $14 million.

Despite these cost increases, the county has still budgeted to pay for the entire building in 2021. Quentin Rockwell, a project manager for Centennial-based Wember Inc. serving as the county’s owners representative, said the contractor hasn’t mentioned any significant materials cost hikes to him so far.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved a deal Nov. 2 with Calcon Constructors to complete the building, after the same company had handled preconstruction work. Rockwell said he and Calcon are in constant contact about potential cost changes.

“We’ve committed together to stay in touch with each other and stay on top of any trends we’re seeing that are troubling that way, so that we can prepare the county and talk to the county commissioners about any possible cost increases,” Rockwell said.

The project broke ground Oct. 13 and should be complete by early 2023. Exactly which month the building will be done depends a lot on material availability though, Faulkner said.

“If we get steel on time, where we’re hoping to get it, we’d probably look to finish up sometime in January of 2023, maybe February, but if we get delayed it could get into March,” Faulkner said.

Commissioner Tim Corrigan, who has a background in construction, said one of the biggest cost hurdles to get over with a building like this is the excavation, because that is a point where larger, previously unforeseen problems are often exposed.

“That’s where you sometimes run into water or bad soils or some really large rocks that need to be blasted,” Corrigan said. “None of that took place, so I was very relieved to see the excavation complete without uncovering any problems.”

Now, crews are working to get the concrete foundation of the building in place, Faulkner said. This is expected to continue through December and into January, so it won’t seem like there is a whole lot of activity at the jobsite on the corner of Sixth and Oak streets near the historic Routt County courthouse.

“Everything that is happening is inside the hole,” Faulkner said. “You’ll see concrete trucks and pump trucks out there, but until we start erecting the steel, you won’t see much going on. Once we start erecting with steel, it will look like it is going up pretty quick.”

Much of the steel is slated to arrive at the jobsite in the middle of February, and from there, things will move pretty quickly, he said. The exterior skin of the building would go on this summer, and Faulkner hopes to get the concrete floors poured and complete the roof before next winter.

“We’ve pretty much hit our dates that we wanted that we mapped out at the beginning of this year,” Faulkner said. “My whole hope was that we would have foundations in the ground by the end of the year and erect steel through the winter, and it looks like we are going to be able to do that.”

So far, Faulkner said there hasn’t been the need for that many materials, but that as the structure grows more will need to be delivered to the site. Rockwell said there might be times when Oak or Sixth streets may have some traffic delays, but they would work with the city if needed.

“There will be occasions when they need to tie in utilities, or they’re bringing in large equipment, and it’s going to take a bit to maneuver,” Rockwell said. “The goal, for sure, I do know, was to try to limit any kind of drama on streets, so I suspect there aren’t going to be many.”

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