Jun 1, 2010 10:10 PM by Andy Koen
El Paso County Commissioners are considering a $50 million consolidation project that would relocate several of their offices into one central building.
Should the Sustainable Facilities plan be approved, a vacant office building at the former Intel Processor Plant on Garden of the Gods Road could house the Health Department, Human Services Department, Coroner's office, County Treasurer and the Clerk and Recorders Office.
"Our current budget addresses existing uses but doesn't really address some of the long term capital needs that we have in the county," said Commissioner Wayne Williams.
The lack of available parking has always been a problem at the current Human Services building near downtown. Williams also says the Health Department building on Union Boulevard is old and needs repairs.
"We recently lost $48,000 in medication at the Health Department because the air conditioning was not adequate," Williams said.
Williams says the county wants to buy low and sell high. Prices for commercial properties and interest rates are considerably low and much more affordable than new construction.
"It's actually cheaper to go out and buy something that exists in the community that's vacant right now."
An estimate presented to commissioners Tuesday's suggests that cost of new construction could top $87 million, land acquisition excluded. Renovating existing facilities could cost $58 million and purchasing an existing facility could cost $36-40 million.
The total projected cost of purchasing a new facility and upgrading its energy systems is $9.5 million.
Williams says, under the plan, the county would finance the purchase of a new site soon and then sell their existing properties once the market recovers.
"I think it makes a lot of sense for us to look at it," Williams said.
In addition to the Intel site, other potential facilities researched include
Macy's Department Store at the Citadel Mall
Rustic Hills Shopping Center
Hewlett Packard/Agilent Campus
Checks Deluxe, Inc (formerly Hewlett Packard Briargate Campus)
Former Apple-SCI Facility
Former Lithia Car Dealership
Arrows West Complex
Corporate Ridge Administration Building
St. Francis and Penrose Community Hospitals
University of Phoenix Facility
Public comment will be taken at the next Board of County Commissioners Meeting on Tuesday, June 8, 2010.