Garfield County Commissioners get more details about new buildings |

Garfield County Commissioners get more details about new buildings

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Courtesy of Garfield CountyThis artist rendering shows what a four-story brick building would look like at the southwest corner of 8th and Colorado in downtown Glenwood Springs.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Imagine a four-story brick building at the southwest corner of 8th Street and Colorado Avenue, replacing a building that currently houses law offices and other businesses.

Or picture a combination of parking structure and offices on the southeast corner of 7th and Colorado, on land that currently holds public parking lots.

Such developments are nowhere near occurring, but the ideas are circulating through the halls of local government.

Garfield County is stepping up its planning process concerning new uses for parcels of land in the area where Colorado Avenue intersects with 7th and 8th streets, focusing on some mix of administrative offices, courts and support facilities, and parking.

The impetus for development comes from two sources.

One is the reported overcrowding in the offices of several county departments, including the elective offices of the assessor, the clerk and recorder, and the treasurer, as well as the county commissioners.

The list of potential users of a new county administrative building now includes the county attorney, the county manager, the finance department and the human resources department.

The estimated amount of space needed by county officials in the next five years is between 40,000 and 43,000 square feet, according to a summary presented by staff.

The second impetus for a new building is a state-mandated expansion of courtrooms and related support facilities for the Ninth Judicial District.

Court officials have long complained that they have inadequate storage space for judicial records, and that the facilities in general are cramped and outdated.

The county commissioners and staff have been eyeing the development potential of various properties for months, starting with a short-lived plan to buy the newly-built Midland Building in West Glenwood.

The BOCC on Feb. 9 conducted a work session to discuss the latest concepts.

In a staff presentation, county manager Ed Green and finance director Lisa Dawson outlined several building scenarios, including:

• A four-story building at the southwest corner of 8th and Colorado, now occupied by a one-story structure known as the Petrie Building, which is owned by the Valley View Hospital district. The site is the subject of land-swap negotiations between the hospital district and the county, which owns some of the land underneath the hospital complex on Blake Avenue.

According to the staff’s presentation, replacing the Petrie Building would cost between $7.6 million and $8.4 million for a structure that would contain approximately 37,700 square feet of space;

• a four-story structure on the current county courthouse parking lot along 7th Street, costing between $11.6 million and $12.8 million and offering 64,000 square feet of space. If a parking garage were included, the cost could jump to between $13.3 million and $14.7 million, according to the staff presentation;

• a three-story, 28,000 square foot structure in Rifle, at the corner of 18th Street and Railroad Avenue, at a cost of between $5.6 million and $6.2 million. Officials estimated that the sale of the county-owned Henry Building in downtown Rifle would provide enough revenue to offset the costs of the new building by $1 million;

County officials will meet again in March to further discuss the options, and will invite Ninth Judicial District representatives to discuss their ideas about new facilities.

“For now, there are no state officials that we plan to engage,” explained Green in an email on Feb. 10. “This [work session] involves very preliminary deliberations regarding whether it makes more sense to build a courthouse or an administrative building and if there are sufficient space demands to warrant construction of either at this time.”

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