Ground-breaking On Massive Sheriff Facility Expected To Start Soon

Building Contract Finalized For New $7.2 Million Project

~ by Rick Langenberg ~

The shovels and bulldozers are ready to hit pay dirt for the $7.2 million new digs for the Teller County Sheriff’s Department that has attracted much attention in the last few months.

With a little luck from Mother Nature in the next year, Teller law enforcement officers could have a new, vastly improved facility by November 2020.

Last week, the Teller County commissioners approved the master construction contract for the much anticipated expanded sheriff facility in Divide with the Pueblo-based H.W. Houston Construction LLC company. This signals the green light for work to start on the 15,000-square-foot facility that the county has saved money towards for years.

Now, this investment will pay off, with the stage set for what some dub as a “Taj Mahal” sheriff headquarters compared to what the agency has dealt with in the past.

Last week, the commissioners okayed a nearly $5.8 million contract with H.W. Houston, which stipulates a Dec. 31, 2020 completion deadline. County attorney Paul Hurcomb described it as a “master contract,” with more specific details to follow in forthcoming documentation.

“They (the contractors) have all of the incentive to get this (facility) constructed quickly and correctly,” said Robert Seever, the main principle of Keystone Associates, Inc. of Colorado Springs, the architect for the project.

If the commissioners had their druthers, the project would have started yesterday, but a number of legal details had to get resolved prior to ground-breaking.

Initially, the architect said much of the early work will consist of fencing, excavation and demo work with the current facility. The old headquarters will eventually serve as a mere “shell “of the new expanded facility, noted Seever.

“I don’t know how they handled the current headquarters as long as they did,” admitted the architect, who previously played a lead role in the construction of a new $800,000 town hall in Green Mountain Falls, following a devastating arson fire. The sheriff department has already moved out of that older facility and is using a temporary headquarters.

No one disagrees with the assessment that the sheriff’s office is in badly need of new digs. In an earlier meeting in late August, the current facility in Divide, constructed in the 1980s, was cited as completely unsatisfactory. The county commissioners praised department leaders for dealing with a cramped headquarters for so many years

The new two-story facility will feature a three-fold increase from the old headquarters, capped by a new coroner’s office and modern new spaces for command, operations, dispatch, expanded E-911 abilities, administration and volunteer services.

Seever is optimistic that the contractors, which have ties with mega contractors G.E. Johnson, can actually get the facility completed by next November. “They are anxious to get going,” said Seever, when addressing the commissioners last week.

Similar comments were echoed by other officials. “We are ready to let the dogs run,” quipped County Administrator Sheryl Decker.

The Need To Support The Sheriff’s Department

Teller County Assessor Colt Simmons also spoke in favor the project. He said this would demonstrate good support for the agency and their hard work in keeping the county safe.

In a related issue, Simmons also lauded the sheriff’s department for their work in helping to secure the courthouse in Cripple Creek during the recent Patrick Frazee trial. In the three-week trial, security was intense with staunch decorum rules, such as prohibiting live social media posts and television coverage in the courthouse and related property; photos and press conferences; note-taking by non-media representatives; strict seating arrangements and guidelines for entering and exiting the courtroom during the proceedings.

In a recent presentation, Sheriff Jason Mikesell expressed much satisfaction for how security was handled by his agency during the trial, which officially ended on Monday with a guilty verdict and the holding of an immediate sentencing hearing. Patrick Frazee was sentenced to life behind bars with no chance of parole for the brutal murder of Kelsey Berreth on Thanksgiving Day, 2018.