GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Garfield County commissioners agreed Monday to put about $218,000 worth of improvements into the former Glenwood Chamber and visitor’s center building so that the facility can be put back into use.
The county eventually plans to move some of its Department of Human Services support operations to the ground floor of the building at 1102 Grand Ave.
“It will not be a public assistance service center,” Garfield County Manager Andrew Gorgey stressed following a discussion during the Monday Board of County Commissioners meeting.
He said the county is also negotiating a possible lease for the University of Denver to operate its recently announced master’s degree in social work education program in the upstairs portion of the building.
Neither move is likely to happen until late spring or early summer, however.
In the meantime, the modified A-frame building that served as the home of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association offices and visitor’s center until June 2012 is in need of some work, Gorgey said.
Ownership of the 2,200-square-foot building was turned over to the county, which owns the land beneath it and extending up the hill to Axtell Park at the corner of Cooper Avenue and 11th Street.
Commissioners on Monday voted 2-1, with Commissioner Mike Samson opposed, to award a $218,000 contract for the renovations. Included in the work will be a new roof, a new central air system to replace the existing swamp cooler and a variety of other upgrades.
Samson said he couldn’t support spending that much money on an old building that the county might be better off tearing down and replacing.
“I’m just concerned that we’ll see a lot of change orders with this, and it will end up costing us a lot more,” Samson said.
Samson added that he believes the county could tear down the existing building, put up a new one “that the county could be proud of,” and even make the existing park larger.
Commission Chairman John Martin noted that the county went to great lengths to ensure neighbors in the area that the site would not be altered too much.
“I just look at the potential fallout with the community if we do something different,” Martin said.
Martin and Commissioner Tom Jankovksy also said they don’t want to lose the opportunity to bring the DU program to Glenwood Springs.
“We have worked long and hard to get that program here, and I would hate to pull the rug out from under them,” Martin said.