After years of talk, Payson is finally getting a new county building at the corner of Main Street and State Route 87.
The Gila County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Jan. 19 approved spending $5.5 million for the construction of the Payson Complex Multipurpose Building and Site Improvements in what is now an empty lot between the courthouse and the post office. The building will be 11,944 square feet and include:
• Offices for elected officials, plus service areas for the county recorder and assessor
• A large meeting room for board and other meetings and available for jury trials
• A sally port for safe movement of prisoners to trial
• Two-way traffic modifications on Frontier Street (that portion of Frontier is currently one-way)
• Fiber cabling that includes a connection to the Justice Court building
The contract, with CORE Construction, Inc., was approved after discussion by the board. Woody Cline, District 3 supervisor, was concerned that the contract amount would put the county at the $10 million limit established going into the long-range facility improvement projects.
“It’s a lot of money. Between the Payson complex and the animal shelter here, we’re at that $10 million limit,” Cline said, adding because of his position regarding the county’s money, he would not favor any additional costs.
County Manager James Menlove said there are still things that can be eliminated from the project and other projects delayed. He said they scaled back some more costly finishes suggested by the architect and the plan calls for a generator that could make the facility available as an emergency shelter, but it is something that could be eliminated. Another savings could be found in not putting a laundry and kitchen facility in the sheriff’s substation in Payson.
Daren Frank, facilities manager, said the project has a 3% contingency built in.
Assistant County Manager Homero Vela is overseeing the facility’s improvements and told the board to meet the requirements of a court facility made the project more expensive than regular construction. “We have done all that should be done. It will be a 40-year building,” Vela said.
Cline said there is no room for extras.
Newly appointed District 1 Supervisor Steve Christensen said, “It’s needed in Payson.” He added it would show residents of the area they are well represented in the county.
District 2 Supervisor Tim Humphrey, chairman of the board, said, “I think of the constituents and the bigger picture. This frees up property the county owns to sell or do other things with.”
The money approved Jan. 19 is in addition to $33,802 paid to CORE Construction, Inc. for pre-construction work.
Menlove said a ground breaking for the new facility would be scheduled in the near future. Documentation attached to the agenda on the issue included a tentative timeline for the project showing construction to start this month and be completed by April 2022.