Commissioners OK sheriff’s Rifle annex |

Commissioners OK sheriff’s Rifle annex

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The Denver-based CMC Group this week got the contract to build a new Garfield County Sheriff’s Office annex near Rifle, at a cost that is expected to save the county nearly $500,000.

The Garfield County commissioners on June 15 gave their approval to a contract to build a one-story, 16,700-square-foot building to house mainly the sheriff’s overflow of administrative staff, road deputies and civil deputies.

The building is to be constructed on county-owned land near the Garfield County Airport. It originally was budgeted to cost $3.5 million, but the CMC Group’s bid came in at $2.7 million, which with fees and related costs is expected to grow to a little more than $3 million.

The facility is meant to house a portion of the department’s records, with personnel on hand to provide public access to those records that are open to public view, and space for storage of the office’s growing accumulation of evidence in criminal cases.

Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said in late May that the building was intended to provide room for the department to grow for the next decade or so. He said his department has grown from 94 employees, when he took office, to 146 now.

Once the new building is completed, it will give Vallario’s office three centers of operation around the county – the existing offices in Glenwood Springs and Battlement Mesa, and the new facilities near Rifle.

Vallario said he plans to hire one or two additional people to handle the split facilities, and that the new positions might include a clerk and a receptionist. But generally, he said, he expects the staff at the Rifle facility to start at around 14 and expand to 20 or more over time.

He said he also is planning for a later expansion of the facilities at the Glenwood Springs office complex.

The department’s expansion, he said, is contingent on population growth, as projected by long-range U.S. Census data. Vallario said that at one point demographers were predicting that Rifle would reach a population of 30,000 within a few decades, and that the county as a whole would grow to more than 100,000, mostly due to the ongoing oil and gas boom.

Although the perception is that the growth rate has slowed, it is believed that the economy will be revived and growth will begin anew at some point in the future.

“We’re just trying to prepare,” Vallario said. “If the population doesn’t grow, then the sheriff’s department doesn’t need to grow.”

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