Justice Center Taking Significant Steps Forward In Near Future

Justice Center Taking Significant Steps Forward In Near Future

SWEETWATER COUNTY – The new justice center continues to move forward and is about ready to make a significant step in the upcoming weeks.

In an update given to the Sweetwater County Commission on Tuesday, EDA Architects announced they are finalizing the bidding documents and the project should go out to bid for a general contractor next week. EDA reported there are six companies which are pre-approved to bid on the project.

Commission Chairman Wally Johnson voiced optimism about the bid process. He said they recently had good news on the new Farson-Eden school as bids came in under estimates. The school project was estimated at $23 million. The low bid on the project came in at $18 million with most others coming in around $20 million.

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Johnson said with the drop in the mining industry, there are opportunities in other fields such as construction. Due to this, Johnson said right now is the perfect time for the state to release more money to counties, cities and towns.

EDA said they hope to award the bid on March 10 and break ground on the project in April. Construction should take about 22 months with the hope the project will be completed by January of 2018. EDA said if everything continues to go right, they hope for a 2018 spring opening.

The presentation also included a conceptual vision of the project. EDA said the design is coming together nicely. One feature includes wood from beetle-killed pine. Johnson said he appreciated the use of the wood. He also reported there has been “great movement” in allowing lumber companies to remove the trees before they have to pay to fight fires.

During the current Sweetwater County District Court remodel, they ran into issues when bullet-proof glass was not used. The commission questioned EDA if it was included. The board overseeing the project was presented costs of putting this glass throughout the entire project. Due to costs, EDA said the glass was limited to the areas where it would be needed the most.

Commissioner John Kolb also made sure with EDA local contractors will be considered for this project. EDA said they have had success with local companies and it helps because if something happens it is here rather than three hours away.

Johnson again reminded the residents this project came from an unfunded mandate by the state. Commissioner Kolb added they did receive a grant from the state for $4 million for the project which was appreciated. Commissioner Reid West said the remainder of the cost will most likely come from reserves.

Johnson said despite the unfunded mandate, the commission went to work and through the help of many were able to get a project – the community can be proud of – accomplished.

EDA said from the commissioners to the steering committee overseeing the project, everyone has been willing to go to work and get things done.