Kinkead Building to be abandoned | NevadaAppeal.com

Kinkead Building to be abandoned

After years of battles about everything from sloping floors and falling pieces of ceiling to fire and earthquake safety, the 350 state workers in the Kinkead Building will finally be moving out this spring.

The legislative Interim Finance Committee gave final approval Wednesday to a plan that will move them out as soon as new quarters are ready.

Human Resources Director Mike Willden said that will be no later than April or May.

The building has been described as the worst office structure the state has ever built. Its floors sag as much as six inches, fire inspectors say it has about 400 safety code violations and engineers say the six-story structure could collapse in an earthquake.

Former Buildings and Grounds Chief Mike Meizel said he tried to get it condemned for years.

“There’s no disagreement on the move,” said Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno.

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But legislators pulled the $22 million for its replacement out of the 2005-07 budget, putting it into a math and science complex at the University of Nevada, Reno.

That raised a storm of protest from state workers in the Kinkead Building, who said it wasn’t safe.

A recent earthquake raised even more protests, prompting Gov. Kenny Guinn’s administration to seek emergency funding to shut it down and move the employees out.

The Board of Examiners cut the request from $3.6 million to $1.4 million by postponing demolition until the 2007 legislative session. IFC members cut another $330,000 by eliminating rent for the final three months of next fiscal year. They agreed those costs could also be funded by the 2007 Legislature, preserving the state’s limited contingency funding which might be needed for fire or other emergencies between now and then.

The remaining $1.03 million will cover the costs of remodeling the two former Harley-Davidson financial services buildings on Technology Way near Eagle Valley golf courses, the cost of moving the human resources staff in and the rent through March 2007.

Willden said he and his staff were pleased with the approval and would get the move done as quickly as possible.

He said the director’s office, the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services and Health Division will all move to the new office space along with the Division of Child and Family Services which will be relocated from the old Children’s Home cottages at Fifth and Stewart streets. Those two buildings have a total of 102,000 square feet of space.

Rehabilitation will move to the offices on Curry Street.

Kinkead’s remaining occupants, the Department of Information Technology, will move to office space on King Street.

At that point, Buildings and Grounds officials will “mothball” both the Kinkead Building and the Children’s Home cottages.

Then the 2007 Legislature will be asked for funding to build Human Resources a new home and to demolish the Kinkead and the cottages, which are more than 50 years old.

“This needs to be a top priority in 2007,” said Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas.

Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, said the Blasdel Building behind the Capitol should also be replaced.

“It’s the ugliest building in Nevada,” he said. “Blasdel will have to go.”

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

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