Contractors plan to break ground on the Conservation and Natural Resources Building in February.
The schematic design for the building just north of the Nevada Department of Transportation on Stewart Street was approved by the Public Works Board on Monday.
Terry Wright of Jacobsen Construction said his company plans to have the building ready for CNR to begin moving into by May 2005. It will contain a total of 120,00 square feet of office space in five stories and cost about $19 million.
But more important to state officials, it will be the first structure built without bonds or state treasury funds under a lease-purchase contract.
After Jacobsen Construction puts up the building according to state specifications, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will consolidate its agencies. It will use the monthly rent it was paying to several different building owners in Carson City to make what amounts to monthly mortgage payments over the next 25 years.
Public Works Board Manager Dan O'Brien said when the lease-purchase idea was developed, the state's problem has been it doesn't have enough cash or bonding capacity to build the office space it needs. Gov. Kenny Guinn has complained that results in the state using too much of its money to rent office space.
O'Brien said that by using lease-purchase agreements, the state can have buildings put up to its specifications then buy the building over time like a homeowner's mortgage.
Wright said they will ask the Carson City Planning Commission's final approval for the project Jan. 22.
O'Brien said once the concept is proven successful, the state should be able to use it to build a number of other badly needed structures throughout the state.
The next project will be a mirror- image structure on Roop Street next to Conservation and Natural Resources building. That structure will be the new home for the state's Human Resources Department -- which is also scattered throughout Carson City in different state and privately held office buildings.
The Public Works Board also approved schematic designs for several other projects, including a secure facility for the Department of Information Technology that will be added on to its building between Stewart and Roop streets.