County has four plans for justice center using old school

Four plans were suggested for the new Rio Blanco County Justice Center on the old Meeker Elementary School site during an Aug. 13 workshop held by the county commissioners.
New Rio Blanco County Project Coordinator Eric Jacquez reported to the commissioners on his progress working with Archetype Designs on the new county Justice Center Project involving the remodel of the existing county courthouse in Meeker and construction of the new justice center on the old elementary school site.
“We needed to get this project moving in some way,” commission Chairman Shawn Bolton said. “We are looking at our due diligence, and we have to get something going due to the problems at the courthouse. Eric Jacquez came up with these ideas that we can put before the public to see which one or ones they like.”
“We are still not 100 percent committed to putting the justice center in the old elementary school, but we wanted to come up with some alternatives that the people will either like or not like and see where they stand,” he said. “I’m not sure there will be a big difference in how the public feels about any of the alternatives.”
Commissioner Jon Hill of Rangely added, “We didn’t have anyone make any other proposals for any other site, so we decided we should look at this location first and see how people feel. I believe this site is a good one for the entire county.”
The proposal involves development of four different conceptual designs that will provide the commissioners and the public with four different approaches to the project — with each focused on meeting the growing needs of Rio Blanco County while maintaining the historic architectural feel of downtown Meeker.
The four different conceptual designs are as follows:
• The oldest portion of the elementary school (the WPA portion) fronting on Main Street is incorporated into the new justice center design, allowing future development of the WPA portion into a community building.
• Only the front façade of the WPA portion of the school is preserved and incorporated into the justice center design, creating a cohesive architectural design for the justice center.
• A memorial piece from the original entrance of the school is used as the design theme that the justice center and the courthouse remodel will be designed around, thereby preserving the architectural integrity of downtown Meeker.
• The justice center is a stand-alone building designed to incorporate the architectural feel of the courthouse and the school.
Bolton said the target timeline for completing the development of the conceptual designs of the four alternatives is Sept. 20, 2013.
The commissioners will then evaluate the design alternatives, hold public meetings through the month of October, and make the decision on how to proceed by Nov. 1.
Final design of the chosen alternative will then proceed with a target of going to bid on Feb. 1, 2014, and starting construction when weather permits in the spring of 2014.
Bolton and Hill emphasized that hearings will be held “around the county,” and that includes meetings in at least Rangely and Meeker.