Report finds New Mexico’s improved

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By Ralph Damiani

  Two petitions have been presented to council regarding the Judicial/Police/Jail Complex and two petitions have failed to have an impact on councilors’ decisions to push through with the project.

  On  Tuesday night, Council approved GMP #2 in the amount of $15,011,650, as well as the 100 percent drawings on the project.

The motion passed 5-1, with Vice Chairman Robert Gibson standing his ground against it. Earlier in the evening, councilors heard from Min Park and a handful of Los Alamos County residents, who urged them to stop construction on the project.

During the presentation on the petition, councilors chose to reserve their remarks until the presentation for GMP #2 came up.

Gibson said he did not want to express his opinions on the project because he had done so before.

“I’ve expressed my concerns about what I think is the excessive scope and process of this project and I won’t duplicate them again this evening,” he said.

During his presentation Park restated that he believed the complex was too big. In an effort to provide clarification about the size of the current plans, Chairman Jim Hall addressed Police Chief Wayne Torpy and asked him if he thought whether any space could be gained through a redesign of the complex.

“I appreciate the opportunity to address the square footage thing. I’m sitting back there wracking my brain, trying to figure out where 30-40,000 comes from,” Torpy said. “I went to David Apple and said, ‘what is this number on each of these buildings?’ It’s the finished floor elevation, not the square footage. My building that exists today is only 12,000 square feet.  Cutting anything off of here, you have to take it room by room. We went through the square foot design room for room and got that,” he continued.

He also said that their final conclusion was that a complete function would have to be cut out in order to reduce the size of the complex.

Councilor-elect Vincent Chiravalle also seized the opportunity to make clear his stand on the matter.

“I’d like to say a few words about the motion and why I’m not in favor of it,” he said. “In the course of county government there are things we absolutely need to have and there are things we’d like to have. When I look at this project I see two buildings, C and A. There’s a need for a new judicial building in Los Alamos. When I look at building A, I think building A is more of something that we’d like to have.”  

He went on to say that he feels that the county can function without building A for the time being. He thinks it would be prudent to consider separating the two buildings and constructing building C first, then deferring to building A later.

“When the funds become available and the need becomes much more urgent, we can move forward with it at some point,” he concluded.

Park made some final comments on the matter before council voted on the motion.

“It will be a sight to my mind that people will regret. To my assessment, this particular building will be the worst case that will be built,” he said.

After the vote was cast, Councilor Nona Bowman stressed to the public how important it is to get involved in projects early on in their conceptual stages.

“I’d encourage the citizens to get involved in the municipal building plans and location,” she said. “I feel that input is very important. There will be many public meetings on this building as far as location and design. I’d encourage people to get involved now rather than later,” she finished.