The long-sought demolition of the Kinkead Building is back in the proposed state budget.
That East King Street building was described by Mike Meizel, former head of the state Buildings and Grounds Division, as the worst building the state ever built. He tried more than once to have it condemned.
It has been vacant nearly a decade since it was shuttered amid fears an earthquake might do the job for the state. But because of recession forced budget cuts, it has managed to survive. The money to take down the building was deleted in three different budget cycles since then-Gov. Kenny Guinn first called for its destruction in 2005. The building is named after John Henry Kinkead, the third governor of Nevada.
Now, according to Deputy Administrator for Public Works Chris Chimits, its floors are sagging badly and the core structure of the building is failing.
“We’ve put it off for years,” Chimits said.
“I think if we wait much longer, the building will come down itself.”
The budget proposed by Public Works Director Gus Nuñez contains $1.7 million to do the job and he said he wants Kinkead either torn down or imploded as soon as that money is approved.
“If they approve it, we’ll take it down immediately,” Nuñez said.
Kinkead was built in 1975 and, within a couple of months, the floors started tilting, windows leaking and concrete chunks in the building’s core started breaking loose.
As for how the building will come down, Nuñez said he’ll structure the bid so the contractor can decide whether to dismantle the structure or implode it.
A number of current and former state employees who once suffered through having office space in Kinkead have said they favor implosion, the method of choice for demolishing old resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Some of them, including former Health and Human Services director, now Governor’s Chief of Staff Mike Willden, have said they would gladly buy tickets in a raffle to see who gets to push the plunger.
The building’s only current use is by police and fire agencies that conduct training inside. Other than that, the adjacent parking lot provides space when the main state lot on Musser Street is full.
Chimits told lawmakers on Friday there are plans to put a new building on that site once Kinkead is gone. That’s included in the capital complex masterplan.
Also on the list for demolition — and in the same predominantly state-owned corridor — are the remaining small structures that once housed the Nevada State Children’s Home.
There wasn’t enough money available to include those buildings just north of the Carson main fire station in this budget cycle.