Expected fully back in business for June
Gunnison County is close to completing construction of the new courthouse, which was a rebuild and overhaul to address security flaws and replace failing systems at the old courthouse while adhering to modern building codes.
County manager Matthew Birnie told county commissioners last month that the courthouse project is on schedule. The new courthouse will still be located at 200 E. Virginia and will include salvaged materials from the old courthouse, originally built in 1881.
Birnie said there are not many major items left in the project that could cause a significant delay—only small change orders and construction deals that were expected.
“It’s really cool to see the inside of the new building,” Birnie said. “The reclaimed tin ceilings from the old building are already in and turned out much better than I thought. It’s great seeing the architect’s vision at this point and it’s all coming together really nicely. The offices and meeting spaces are very nice and there’s bigger capacity in the boardroom.”
Birnie told commissioners he feels very good about cost control. Since construction costs in general are now going up dramatically, Birnie thinks the project was undertaken at just the right time. “We started a year or year and a half earlier than we thought we might. It was a very good decision. I’m glad we didn’t wait,” he said.
Commissioners Jonathan Houck and Paula Swenson remarked on the new building’s exterior. “That whole front area, once the landscaping goes in, is going to be really nice,” said Houck.
Swenson added, “And the entrance, and the stairs—it’s all looking good.”
Birnie said the plan is for all county functions in the new building to be operational this June 1. Upon completion, total project expenses will be around 16.7 million (including items like architectural services, demolition of the old building, furniture, etc.). Of the project total, the county borrowed (through a bond issue) $10 million and the rest came from savings, current revenues and $1.325 million in grants. The building will feature amenities the old location could not accommodate, such as private ingress/egress for suspects and victims, lockable file storage rooms and four times the heat efficiency of the old building.