Bill would fund construction projects immediately

Nevada's Assembly Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday to fast-track three capital improvement projects in hopes of saving the state money.

But the retiling of the Sawyer Building in Las Vegas was amended out of AB204 after Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, objected.

Deputy Public Works Manager Gus Nuñez said the projects are the Sawyer Building, the expansion of DOIT's computer facility, expansion of the Emergency Operations Center project and expansion of the psychiatric hospital under construction in Las Vegas. He said for different reasons, immediate funding is needed for all four to save money by extending existing contracts rather than rebidding them.

Several members of the committee including speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson, questioned why they were putting $8.6 million into that project. And Giunchigliani questioned why the state would put more tile on the Sawyer Building since the reason for the project is the existing tiles are falling off. She said Public Works should investigate a cheaper replacement covering like stucco and that the issue could be taken up later this session.

A majority of the committee agreed and removed the project from the legislation.

The other three projects received support from the committee including the addition of $11,334,293 to the psychiatric hospital now under construction in Las Vegas. The money will add a fourth pod of 40 beds to the 150 bed hospital project. The original hospital project cost about $26 million. Nuñez said Public Works is hoping to save money and get the expansion done quickly by expanding the existing construction contract.

In addition, the bill adds $2 million to the $8 million Emergency Operations Center project in Carson City. The money will expand the scope of the Homeland Security project.

Finally, the bill puts another $2.4 million into the project expanding the Department of Information Technology computer building by 10,000 square feet. Nuñez said all bids came in much higher than expected because of rising construction costs and the money would enable the state to take the lowest of the existing bids rather than rebidding which would undoubtedly bring even higher bid costs.

Public works officials are hoping to get the bill passed and to the governor by next week.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or at 687-8750.


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