Governor says tear it down

Gov. Kenny Guinn wants 350 state workers moved out of the Kinkead Building and the structure torn down before the next Legislature.

Engineers who examined the structure last year warned a moderate to strong earthquake could cause the structure to collapse. When a series of small quakes rocked Carson City this past summer, workers fled.

Guinn has said he agrees the building isn't safe and needs to be torn down. His plan will be presented to the Board of Examiners on Tuesday and to the legislative Interim Finance Committee on Wednesday by Deputy Budget Director Andrew Clinger and Human Resources Director Mike Willden.

Director of Administration Perry Comeaux said the governor's recommendation is to pull $3.6 million out of the state's emergency fund and use $2 million of that to move the Human Resources department to private, leased space. The remaining $1.6 million would pay to demolish the six-story building a block east of the Capitol.

"The plan is move everybody in the Kinkead Building plus the Child and Family Services staff from those pathetic cottages at the old Children's Home into the two Harley-Davidson buildings," said Comeaux. Harley-Davidson Financial Services has space available in the industrial park in North Carson City since moving into a new building a year ago.

The 2007 Legislature would be asked to build new offices for Human Resources.

Comeaux said it is essentially the same plan presented to IFC in September.

Those who work there have complained for years about sagging floors - as much as six inches in some places - falling pieces of concrete and other problems.

The fire marshal's office inspected the building this summer and found more than 400 code violations.

Former buildings and grounds director Mike Meizel said in June the Kinkead Building is "the worst building the state ever built." He said he tried to get it condemned for years.

Deputy Human Resources Director Mike Torvinen said Wednesday fire marshals just completed a thorough re-inspection of the building and "there are still quite a few issues." He said they have asked the fire marshal's office to attend the meeting to answer questions lawmakers may have.

Guinn's 2005-06 budget included $22 million to build Human Resources a new office complex next door to the Conservation and Natural Resources building on South Stewart Street. But lawmakers siphoned that money off in the final days of the 2005 session to pay for a math and science building at the University of Nevada, Reno. That was the second legislative session in a row the Kinkead Building's replacement was killed in favor of other projects.

Lawmakers agreed in September that the building is unsafe and unacceptable for state office space. Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City, who represents state workers who live in the capital city, urged the finance committee and the administration to shut the building down as soon as possible. The State of Nevada Employees Association made the same request.

Legislative leadership asked Comeaux to bring them recommendations at the November Interim Finance Committee meeting.

- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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