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Commissioners Hire Architect for Garden Park Remodel

The former Garden Park High School will soon be remodeled into the Fremont County Administration Annex Building. It will house Fremont County Public Health, Environmental Health, Emergency Management, and Weed Control Departments.

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The Fremont County Board of Commissioners has hired a Denver architectural firm to begin the design and engineering work on the former Garden Park High School in Cañon City which the county purchased last February.   The Commissioners voted at their June 10th regular meeting to contract with Reilly Johnson Architecture for the remodeling of the building which is located on north 6th Street in Cañon City directly west of the Fremont County Administration Building.   The newly acquired facility will be known as the County Administration Annex.

The county purchased the building from the Cañon City RE-1 School District for $800,000 following a lengthy nine month search for a new location of the Fremont County Public Health Department.   Public Health is now located in cramped space in the Department of Human Services building along Justice Center Road.   The Public Health move will also enable Human Services to expand into much needed office space in that facility.

In addition to the Public Health Department moving into the Annex, several other county offices that now function in cramped space in the Administration Building will move into the remodeled Annex.   They include Environmental Health Officer Sid Darden, County Weed Department Director Jana Gregg, and County Emergency Management Director Steve Morrisey.   The Commissioners have also discussed setting up a county Emergency Operations Center in the Annex.   An existing large meeting room in the southeast corner of the building will be maintained for community meeting space and as a training room.

The architectural contract with Reilly Johnson totals $59,600 plus $3,100 in reimbursable expenses.   The contract includes design drawings to remodel the existing Public Health space at the Department of Human Services building.   Fremont County has used Reilly Johnson’s services previously.    Architect Bob Johnson designed the 96 bed addition to the Fremont County Jail that was built 11 years ago.

The $800,000 for the purchase of the Annex along with the costs of design and remodeling come from last year’s refinancing of the county’s Certificates of Participation which provided $2 million in new funding.   Payments on those certificates come from a portion of the county sales tax which voters earmarked for capital construction back in 1981.    District 3 Commissioner Ed Norden notes that 25% of all sales tax collections must be used exclusively for capital improvements and cannot be used in the county’s general fund for day to day operational expenses.

In other business at the June 10th meeting the Commissioners:

  • Scheduled a public hearing for 10 a.m. on July 8th for a Special Review Use permit for the Penrose Water District.  The District is proposing to build a raw water pump station and pipeline from the Arkansas River to Brush Hollow Reservoir.  The permit would allow a diversion from the Arkansas River using shallow ground water wells generally located within fifty feet of the Arkansas River.   The water would then be pumped to Brush Hollow Reservoir for storage, or to the District’s water treatment plant for treatment of potable water;
  • Adopted a proclamation put forth by the Fremont County Heritage Commission for the Fremont Fall Heritage Festival.  The festival is being planned for October 9th through the 13th to include a variety of heritage and historical events.  It will include a celebration of historical art, music, cars, tours, films, fossils, buildings, exploration, and more.