A $41 million new judicial center will take just over three years to complete, Douglas County commissioners were told on Thursday.
County commissioners voted 4-1 to award a $3.49 million contract to engineer and design the proposed Douglas County judicial center.
Commissioner Danny Tarkanian was the lone vote against the proposal saying he felt there should be a competitive bid.
Under Nevada law, professional services contracts aren’t necessarily subject to competitive bids, commissioner Sharla Hales said.
“I’m not aware of any statute that prohibits a bidding process,” she said.
The contract includes preliminary design work that is the first step before the county can solicit a construction manager at-risk pre-construction contract required to determine a precise cost for the structure.
Tate Snyder Kimsey Architects have a long history with Douglas County, having worked on the Douglas County Community & Senior Center.
The county has already purchased land off Buckeye Road for the center, which will move court functions from the current Judicial & Law Enforcement Center.
The approximately 55,000-square-foot center will include two stories above grade and a basement where defendants facing court proceedings would be transferred and kept.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and jail would remain in the current center.
“We are getting a consultant that has excellent experience,” said Project Manager Scott McCullough.
McCullough has been involved in the project since it was first proposed in 2014. Efforts to expand the current Judicial & Law Enforcement Center would require the construction of a parking structure, increasing its cost by around $10 million.
Complicating the effort was the expansion of the jail 12 years ago, which would entail higher costs to move the Sheriff’s Office.
The contract amount is for 10.9 percent of the estimated direct cost of the structure of $32 million.
Tarkanian said he felt the architect contract was high for the work.
McCullough pointed out that courthouses tend to be complex processes.
County commissioners agreed to transfer $5.39 million for design and pre-construction work in December from the general fund to the construction fund. In May, county commissioners agreed to purchase 57 acres of land for $5 million on Park Ranch Holdings land. The Judicial & Law Enforcement Center located at Buckeye Road and Water Street in downtown Minden opened on July 1, 1982.
Designed to expand with the county, the 40,000-square-foot building cost $4.5 million to build.
In 2011, the county completed a $4 million expansion of the jail. In 2017, East Fork Justice of the Peace Tom Perkins presented a proposal from the county’s judiciary to expand the law enforcement building.