Another hit for county building

Animal facility needs $189K storm bonnet

Mesa County’s new Animal Services building in Whitewater is getting a new bonnet, as it were, costing an unanticipated $189,000, but the building reconstruction still is likely to come in under budget, officials said.

County commissioners on Monday approved the additional spending for the building at 971 Coffman Road, which is needed to meet the requirements of the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority.

The authority last year expanded its urban boundary to include the Whitewater area, said Trent Prall, engineering manager for the city of Grand Junction, which administers the 5-2-1 authority.

The new structure, which amounts to an awning on two sides of the building, will divert rain and melting snow away from the outdoor kennels on those sides of the building.

Environmental rules prohibit waste products from flowing into the storm-sewer system, as well as banning rains and snowmelt from emptying into sanitary sewers.

Waste from all the kennels will be put into a sanitary sewer for treatment before being released into the Colorado River.

The awning will be built to be as solid as the walls of the structure, though it will be separate from the building’s walls, said Greg Linza, facilities director for the county.

Just as the interior of the Animal Services building is now shored up with 61 pylons driven 31 feet into the earth to provide stability, the awning is to be similarly supported with 31-foot-deep pylons, he said.

Officials said it wasn’t clear whether the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority’s requirements would have applied in 2010, when the 8,765-square foot building was first constructed, but those requirements are now being met, Linza said.

“They’re trying to do the right thing now,” Prall said.

The building is nearing completion after being gutted and rebuilt from the inside, a $2.4 million project that the county embarked on to fix floors that were cracking and shifting.

The cracks threatened Animal Services officers, who were unable to shut doors against vicious dogs.

Moisture was blamed originally for the instability of the building floor — the walls, which were shored up, remained stable — but officials found no evidence of water when the building was gutted, prompting Linza to conclude that “ground heave” was the culprit. A hilltop was shaved off to make room for the $3 million building when it was built in 2010 and the floor almost immediately began to crack.

Mesa County sued the contractors and subcontractors who designed and built the facility, ultimately settling with them for $1.2 million.

Linza said he had hoped to bring in the building at more than $200,000 below budget, but the requirement to separate rainwater from wastewater took away much of that margin.

He still hopes to complete the project in November and be about $50,000 under budget, Linza said.


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