New Churchill County senior center pushing toward finish

The Churchill County Board of Commissioners met last week to discuss the William N. Pennington Life Center project, the county’s new senior center.

Raymond Ferguson, president of Ferguson Construction, and Cliff Van Woert, the county building official, provided a project update and highlighted progress and hiccups.

“The building itself is in very good shape; we’ve made very good progress,” Ferguson said and Van Woert agreed.

Ferguson Construction plans to request an official time extension at next week’s meeting since by then the contractor would have firmed up timetables with kitchen supply vendors.

“In my experience kitchen equipment always needs a big lead time,” Ferguson said. “We have worked diligently on putting this together since November.”

Ferguson added they worked with different distributors on bids and narrowed it down a few weeks ago. He also discussed the equipment installation process, training staff and installing an emergency generator.

“You probably would like to have a day when this will get done; I can’t answer that at this moment,” he said to the commission, adding he was headed to Reno that afternoon to place the order — though he said he has no way to expedite the process, and it tends to take four to six weeks for delivery. “We’ve gotten it sooner and we’ve gotten it later.”

Van Woert explained how in the grand scheme of things, the project is still essentially on target for the hard opening of the senior center itself.

“We hit one snag,” Ferguson said. “But we do not need to have all the equipment to install it. We will install as it drops … I just don’t have anything today that I would want to stand by.”

Ferguson and Van Woert were confident the building would be 90-95 percent complete by month’s end.

Ferguson also outlined the north end’s progress including the flooring and bathrooms are completed, cabinets and kitchen tile is being installed and the suspended ceiling practically done. He emphasized they were fortunate enough to have a weather-tight building going into winter, leading to a well represented crew through the cold months with 10-12 workers every day.

The contractor said there was one hang-up with the winter weather regarding the large skylights but that feature is back on track.

County Comptroller Alan Kalt, who reports to the Pennington Foundation bimonthly on project status, said the grant-givers were still extremely pleased with the project timeframe and focus on quality.

“I’m OK with that, Ray,” said Commissioner Bus Scharmann of the potential for timeline adjustment. “My biggest concern is when we do actually move, it’s a turnkey operation.”

Van Woert said they are also working on a taskforce matrix to ease the transition period and ensure Meals on Wheels has no lapse in service.

County Manager Eleanor Lockwood advised organizations interested in the current senior center facility to exercise patience, as the county has not determined that building’s future.

Lockwood also said the county is keeping up with flood mitigation efforts including a command structure helping with decision-making. She added Ernie Schank, Truckee-Carson Irrigation District president, goes out on a daily basis to assess the environment and update the county.

“I want to compliment the people of this community,” said commissioner Pete Olsen of their preparedness. “I would have to say our local people get it.”

Olsen said in working with agencies and seeing the modeling and mapping done, there are some devastating outlier situations so the flows need to be maintained as high as possible without hurting anyone.

“It’s hard for people to get their head around, what we’re up against,” Olsen said. “But action is needed and quickly.”

The next meeting is March 15 at 1:15 p.m. in the chambers at 155 N. Taylor St.


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