Massive Expansion Project Bracing for March 2021 Completion
~ by Trevor Phipps ~
Anyone driving through Divide these days can spot the new $7.2 million Teller County Sheriff’s Office, representing a dramatic and ambitious four-fold expansion effort from the agency’s previous home.
More importantly it is starting to assume the look of a finished building. With a little luck, the new digs for the sheriff’s office could get finished by next spring.
The project started with the design process around 18 months ago. Work officially began on the construction when ground-breaking occurred last November.
The project came about as the Teller County commissioners set aside money for a number of years, knowing that the old building, constructed initially as a fire station, was aging. As the county grew, the sheriff’s department also expanded to where working in the old office started to get crowded and inefficient.
Originally, the contractors pursued a completion date around the end of 2020. But as with most big capital projects in Teller County, it will take a little longer than expected. According to Teller County Public Works Director Fred Clifford, the planned completion date for the sheriff’s new headquarters is slated for March 2021.
Overall, county officials are pleased with how the construction process has been going. “We really haven’t had any large delays on the project,” Clifford said. “We worked through the winter getting the foundation in and we did have a little bit of a weather delay there in the beginning. But right now, it is roughly 75 percent complete. You can see it now, the view of the building, how it is going to lay out, and some of the architectural features of it.”
Clifford also said that more steps of the construction process will be visible in the near future. “The interior framing is all complete,” Clifford explained. “A lot of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing is going on inside the building. Windows are being installed. They are prepping the exterior for stucco. You will notice curb and gutter starting to go in to finish the site work for paving. People should see the steel roof being installed soon. And then in another two or three weeks they will begin the stucco. And then you will see the final door frames go up, so it will really be shaping up here in the next month.”
The new sheriff’s office will use the shell of the old building, but it will be getting a major uplift and expansion. The old office that is being completely remodeled was about 5,000 square feet and the addition is around 17,000-square-feet, putting the facility at more than 21,000-square-feet when it is finished.
Clifford said that county officials chose to utilize the old building’s structure to keep the costs of the project low. “We felt that salvaging the old building was appropriate because a lot of the mechanical rooms can go in that building,” Clifford said. “And it ultimately saves on your total project budget when you can successfully reuse existing infrastructure.”
The public works director also said that the sheriff’s office would not be the only county entity that will experience the benefits the new headquarters has to offer. Since the old building was built in two parts, first as a fire station and then remodeled later as the sheriff’s office, maintenance was starting to become expensive.
County officials knew that they would have to start putting more money into the old building to fix it. Therefore, the public works department will also have a much easier job of maintaining the new sheriff’s headquarters once it is finalized.
“That building was going to need a lot of work, the heating system and other things were just getting to the end of their life cycle,” Clifford said. “I think that with the current staffing level at the sheriff’s office that maintainability will be improved for public works because we are responsible for maintaining all of the buildings.”
Once the new headquarters is built, the building will be much better suited for the sheriff’s office’s daily duties. It will also provide more office space and working room for the 80-plus deputies the sheriff’s office now employs. The new office will also sport additional amenities, including a large waiting room and a new and improved media/conference room.