Sheriff’s annex to be built near Garfield County airport

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A Denver contractor appears poised to get the job of designing a new administration building for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office near Rifle.

The new building is to be a single-story affair near the Garfield County Airport, and will be mainly designed to house an overflow of administrative staff along with road deputies, investigators and half the department’s civil division.

In addition, it will house most of the department’s records, with personnel on hand to provide public access to the appropriate records, and will provide storage for the growing amount of evidence gathered through the years.

The county commissioners gave their approval this week for Sheriff Lou Vallario and other county officials to continue ongoing talks with the CMC Group, which calls itself “a diversified design-build and general construction firm that integrates all aspects of the design and construction process,” according to its website.

According to Vallario, the building, called the Sheriff’s Annex, has been part of his department’s five-year plan for the past few years, and initially was budgeted to cost up to $3.5 million.

But the bid from CMC came in at around $2.7 million, the sheriff said. The building is planned to contain 16,700 square feet of offices and other space, with room for expansion in the future.

“We think the building will provide enough room for growth for 10 years,” Vallario said, noting that his department has grown from 94 employees in 2003, when he took office, to 146 today.

Once the new facility is completed, Vallario said, the Glenwood Springs facilities will be downgraded to a substation. That will give the department three centers of operation ” the substation in Glenwood Springs, another on Battlement Mesa near the town of Parachute, and the new annex at the airport.

He said he expects he will need to increase his staff by one or two people in order to handle the split facilities, perhaps including a clerk to administer the model traffic code (once it is adopted) and a receptionist to field public requests for records. Generally, he said, he expects the staff at the Rifle facility to start out at around 14 and expand to 20 or 30 ultimately.

But, he said, “mostly the expansion will come over the period of several years.”

He also is already planning for a later expansion of the administrative offices at the Glenwood Springs building.

“This is all based on long range census numbers,” Vallario said, explaining that at one point demographers were predicting that within a few decades Rifle would reach a population of 30,000 or so, and the county would grow to more than 100,000, mostly due to the ongoing oil and gas boom.

Although the perception is that the growth rate has slowed, some observers believe the local economy and population will start growing again at some point.

“We’re just trying to prepare,” Vallario said. “If the population doesn’t grow, then the sheriff’s department doesn’t need to grow.”


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