Construction contract for Workforce Center approved by county

The construction contract for a major county capital project — building a new Mesa County Workforce Center on county-owned property at 519 29 1/2 Road — was approved by commissioners Monday.

The more than $5.4 million contract was awarded to FCI Constructors, no stranger to project work with the county. The company recently built the Central Services Building on South Spruce Street, a more than $7 million project.

The new 32,000-square-foot Workforce Center building — which will be immediately next door to the county’s Community Services Building — will be a major upgrade from the current facility on 29 Road and North Avenue.

The new Workforce Center will have expanded space for a comprehensive business and meeting center — an important component as employers are key partners.

Most of the building will have WiFi internet access.

“It’ll be so much easier for people coming in with their laptops,” said Sue Tuffin, director of the Workforce Center since it opened in 1998.

Even with all the extras, FCI’s bid was significantly less than the county’s preliminary estimate of $7.5 million.

County staff told commissioners Monday that FCI was “by far the highest-rated contractor” in terms of qualifications, schedule, project team and its history with the county, even if the bid was not the lowest received.

Not everyone agrees about the project, though. Commissioner Steve Acquafresca voted against the approved contract.

“I do not believe that all of the alternative options were reviewed in an exhaustive fashion,” Acquafresca said after the meeting.

“Do we really want a workforce and training facility … hooked up to our welfare building, to our social services building?” he wondered.

“So people come in to get lined out on a new job, find job opportunities, or sign up for unemployment, and then we send them over to social services?”

In a press release, county administrator Chantal Unfug touted the new location.

“This one-stop-shop model is working well for the county,” she said. “Having multiple programs in a civic campus location is efficient, and more convenient for everyone involved.”

Work is scheduled to begin in spring 2013, with a move-in date around this time next year.


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