Kinkead Building finally empty | NevadaAppeal.com

Kinkead Building finally empty

More than a year after the Legislature agreed to move state workers out of the dilapidated and potentially dangerous Kinkead Building, the structure is finally empty and dark.

“The only thing left in there is some communications equipment and furniture,” said Cindy Edwards, head of the state’s Buildings and Grounds Division.

At one point, there were more than 350 Health and Human Services workers plus the Department of Information Technology’s staff in the building. The last agency, Vital Statistics, finally left just before New Year’s Day.

Workers had complained for years about Kinkead’s sagging floors – some by as much as 6 inches across a single room – falling chunks of concrete, leaking windows and other problems.

Former Building and Grounds administrator Mike Meizel described Kinkead as the worst office structure the state ever built. He tried unsuccessfully to get it condemned and emptied for years.

The final straw was an engineering report done for the Public Works Board three years ago which said Kinkead could actually collapse in an earthquake with floors dropping one on top of another like a stack of pancakes. That was followed by a safety inspector’s report which said there were literally more than 100 code violations in the building.

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When a series of small earthquakes rattled western Nevada in September 2005, nervous employees fled the building. The quakes put an exclamation point on the presentation made just one day earlier to lawmakers.

The Interim Finance Committee agreed to spend $1 million to remodel two Harley-Davidson financial buildings on Technology Way near the Eagle Valley Golf Courses and move everyone out of Kinkead. DOIT workers moved to offices at 505 King St. and to their new computer center behind the Department of Education offices.

Deputy Heath and Human Services Director Mike Torvinen said the new offices are much nicer and most employees are happy with the change.

“The only real complaint is that it’s a long way from anything,” he said. “It’s made some challenges getting to meetings on time. Instead of a couple minutes’ walk, it’s a 20-minute drive.”

There is $1.6 million in the proposed public works budget to demolish the building. Mike Johnson, facilities manager for Buildings and Grounds, said the structure will be “mothballed” until the money is approved with services turned off. The doors and windows on the ground floor will probably be boarded over to prevent vandalism.

During a visit to the building Friday, Johnson said the agencies “moved out and just left the stuff they didn’t want.”

Old desks, file cabinets and other furniture line the halls and rooms. Wires hang from the ceilings, debris litters the place and the whole building has a musty, dusty smell.

Johnson said the old furnishings will be sent to State Purchasing to be sold, given to nonprofit corporations or disposed of.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.

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