Summit County construction encounters bedrock and budget problems
Unforeseen construction costs are squeezing the budgets on county projects in the Silver Summit area: the new High Valley Transit facility and a much-needed county services building.
The site of a future transit facility is creating problems for Summit County.
It’s across Old Highway 40 from the Home Depot—land dubbed the FJ Gillmor Subdivision—where the county is considering another neighboring building with space for meetings, offices and other services officials say are crucial.
Bedrock discovered after breaking ground last October has slowed progress and ballooned both projects’ budgets. Compounded with the new law, Senate Bill 84, which jeopardizes HVT’s state funding, it’s quite the headache for county officials.
HVT won a grant for over $30 million from the Utah Transportation Commission last year to expand service, but the way S.B. 84 is worded, it disqualifies Summit County from priority transit funding.
Executive Director Caroline Rodriguez said it may be vague enough to disqualify HVT, too. Now that Summit County has sued over the bill, not even High Valley Transit knows the status of that funding.
Regardless of what happens, Board Chair Kim Carson says the organization has the money to continue construction on the Silver Summit project. There’s an extra $8 million to gain by bonding.
But Carson said they’re exploring other funding sources to try to avoid needing to pay that off.
“We don't want to have to build, into our administrative costs, those bonding costs,” Carson said. “It just means there's less money to go to actually expanding service.”
But the bedrock issue has spread beyond this particular project. Summit County is planning to build the Silver Summit County Services building right next door.
The county services building would create more space for the county attorney, sheriff’s office and health department. The plans also include a large meeting hall, which would alleviate the burden on Ecker Hill Middle School. A potential childcare center could benefit county employees too.
The county originally budgeted $27 million for the building but is now facing an almost $38 million price tag.
Half of that difference was due to planning errors missed by both county staff and third party architects. But the county had to add another $5 million after seeing HVT’s bedrock problems.
The council has spent a total of four hours in two special sessions considering paths forward, but has not made any decisions yet.