Capital repair projects outlined for lawmakers

Lawmakers were told Thursday it will take more than $811,000 to repair the electrical power system that feeds the Blaisdel Building behind the Capitol.

"That's probably more than the cost of the Blaisdel Building," said subcommittee chairman Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas.

Public Works Manager Gus Nunez told him there is no choice, the current transformer is a safety hazard. The transformer that supplies the building housing state agencies is the type designed to be hung on an outside power pole. Instead, it is located at eye level in the basement of the building. State officials were advised by an electrician more than two years ago that is a severe code and safety violation that needs to be fixed.

The issue prompted sharp criticism of the entire building by Coffin, who described it as "the ugliest building the state has ever built." But users in the building have often defended it as a practical, usable workspace.

Coffin will leave office because of term limits after this session, but urged those who remain to begin planning to demolish Blaisdel and replace it.

"It's a pimple on the arse of the state of Nevada," he said.

Nunez said the list of capital repairs includes a $2.15 million project to upgrade electric power supplying Stewart Street at the south end of Carson City. The project will replace overhead power lines with an underground system on the east side of campus. He said the existing power poles are some 90 years old, brittle and badly in need of replacement.

A $743,220 appropriation was recommended for work on the Marlette Lake Water System, which supplies part of Carson City's water as well as Virginia City's municipal water supply.

The problem is decades of overflow from Lakeview Tank has caused serious erosion and sedimentation problems in McEwan Creek, bringing complaints and a lawsuit from the owner of a ranch downstream.

In addition, projects will upgrade the temperature control system at the State Library and Archives and improve electronic security measures at the Governor's Mansion.

Finally, $116,800 will be used to build a wind break to protect the entry to the Bryan Building on Stewart Street. Nunez said the winds in that area are so strong sometimes they prevent the automatic doors from closing, allowing the vestibule to fill with trash.

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