New Flathead County building nearing completion in 2022

On Monday, Flathead County officials had a spike in their future offices in the North County Campus building in Kalispell, which is being renovated to reduce space requirements as the county government expands to meet growing demand for services.

As with many other public and private construction projects, the cost of renovations to the North Campus building is expected to increase due to increasing demand for materials and supplies.

The county purchased the two-story, 18,700-square-foot building at 290 N. Main St. for approximately $ 720,000 from CenturyLink last summer. After renovations are completed next spring, the building will house the office of the county treasurer, the office of the superintendent of county schools, the department of motor vehicles, the accounting department, the election department and the court services. family.

“As the county grows, we need to expand the services to meet that growth, and so that really allows us to do that,” said Commissioner Randy Brodehl, who voted to endorse the project. last year with then-commissioner Phil Mitchell. Commissioner Pam Holmquist voted against the project, saying any expansion would also have to meet the county jail’s space needs.

THE INTERIOR building was emptied and crews were preparing Monday to cover the subfloor with a new layer of plywood.

The renovations will include plumbing and electrical upgrades; raise part of the ceiling to accommodate offices; install sprinklers throughout the building for fire suppression; the addition of an entrance near the northwest corner of the building; and adjust the slope of the roof to divert rainwater to the gutters, instead of two existing roof drains that have leaked in the past.

Cushing Terrell is the architectural firm on the project, and the county hired Martel Construction to do most of the renovations. County administrator Mike Pence said month-old projections for the two companies put their costs at around $ 3.9 million and $ 4.5 million, respectively, but those numbers are subject to change.

“We will receive offers from all subcontractors towards the end of May, which will give us actual cost figures which will likely be much higher due to escalating costs for building materials and supplies,” a- he declared.

The same trend has recently driven up the projected costs of the Parkline Trail in Kalispell and a road reconstruction project in Whitefish.

Still, the north campus building is expected to be a much cheaper way to add space than the other options the county has explored in recent years.

COMPLETION renovations will trigger a kind of musical chair game. Departments to relocate to the building are currently spread across the South Campus Building on the southeast corner of 11th Street and First Avenue West, and the West Courthouse two blocks north next to it. from the center of justice.

The county operates two courts for different levels and types of crimes. To cope with the growing caseload, the Montana legislature this year approved funding for a fifth Flathead County District Court judge and support staff starting in 2023. To make room for them in the justice center, the smaller courthouse will move to Courthouse West, which currently houses the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“We have always known that if they approve a fifth judge, we will have to provide space for a fifth judge, hopefully in the same building … where the courts are currently located,” Pence said.

The Justice Center and the West Courthouse will undergo more modest renovations. The Flathead City-County Health Department will also use the space currently occupied by the Elections Department in the South Campus building, Pence said.

“By just doing each of these pieces over a period of about two and a half years, we’ll solve the space needs for multiple offices and departments,” he said.

Journalist Chad Sokol can be reached at 758-4439 or [email protected]

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