Rifle City Council approves new city hall HVAC system for roughly $1 million

Rifle City Hall.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Rifle City Council approved on Oct. 5, the order and installation of a new $1.06 million heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for city hall. The new system marks one of the final components of the major Rifle City Hall renovation project, but contractors and city administrators are saying it could be more than a year before Rifle receives the system.

The contract for the HVAC system is with PNCI Construction, Inc. of Grand Junction.

The three-phase renovation project began in 2021. The first two phases of the project are now complete, and included reconfiguration of the city’s finance department customer service area, renovation of physical spaces, added security, and plumbing and sewer improvements.

In July, however, Rifle City Council and city staff held a special meeting to address concerns over project funding. According to Rifle City Manager Tommy Klein, tapering sales-and-use tax revenues paired with a need to set aside funds for other infrastructure projects meant the city needed to reduce the scope of the wish list of phase three of the city hall project.

The city responded by nixing things like ceiling demolition, window replacement, and masonry work on the third floor. IT agreed that adding a new HVAC system was the city’s highest priority.

“We’re not getting what we wanted,” Rifle City Council member Brian Condie said. “But we’re getting what we need.”

Meanwhile, inflation and supply chain issues meant project costs have nearly doubled since the city first analyzed estimates prior to 2021, shooting from $3.5 million to about $7.3 million today.

But according to the outgoing Parks and Recreation Director Tom Whitmore and contractor Phil Vaughn of Rifle-based Phil Vaughn Construction Management, city hall’s current HVAC system is on the fritz.

“We found the existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is well beyond its useful life,” Vaughn said. “So, we’re moving forward on this process.”

Vaughn said the new system is going to be a rooftop unit and that, once the order is placed for the HVAC system, it could take anywhere from 40-54 weeks to receive. He expressed concerns over Hurricane Ian causing shipping delays.

Vaughn said the new system should last between 25-35 years.

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