September 14th was a monumental occasion as Watts joined Washington County for a ribbon cutting and dedication of the new Washington County Administration Building and Parking Garage.
Elected officials, county employees, and many other members of the community gathered outside the new building while a brass quintet played patriotic music. Commissioner Adam Snow opened the ceremony speaking about how historic this event was and how the building would serve many future generations.
The crowd stood for a presentation of the flag, the pledge of allegiance, and a beautiful performance of the national anthem.
Commissioner Victor Iverson spoke about the history of the previous administration buildings, how the current building came to be, and how the county saved to make the new building possible.
Iverson said, “We planned and we saved and I’m proud that we have not burdened the citizens with debt and have been able to deliver a beautiful building that represents our county and will serve for hundred years or more to come. I can remember well the day that we all mutually agreed on the timeline to move forward with construction – the excitement and nervousness in that room.”
Picking up where Iverson left off, Commissioner Gil Almquist continued the origin story of this project and the RFQ process the county went through to select the design-build team. Design-build is a collaborative approach to construction where the construction manager, architect, and owner work on the project as a team from conception to completion. Watts Construction and Simpson Coulter proposed together and were awarded the project.
Almquist then touched on the challenges faced during construction with increased prices and delays due to COVD-19, and how the design-build team planned ahead to both prevent delays and save the county millions of dollars.
“The commission approved funds so that Watts Construction, wisely guided by their team, could start to lock in prices and gobble up inventories of steel, drywall, wire, HVAC units, etc. And we stored them all over the place.”, he said. “We just had to find a place to put them, because we may never get them again. This process saved the citizens of the county millions of dollars. One million dollars in the steel alone.”
He concluded his remarks by saying, “Our eternal thanks to those who saved for decades to make this possible. Our thanks to those now who make it possible.”
In a continuation of gratitude, Nicholle Felshaw, County Administrator and the county representative who managed this project said, “I would say that I have the best job ever. To be the one standing up here today to acknowledge and thank all of those that made these buildings possible with their hard work. And with over 307,00 square feet of total construction, there are a lot of people to thank.”
She recognized the design team, Watts Construction and Simpson Coulter Studio, and the collaboration over the last few years that led to this successful project.
She said, “With this design team we were able to construct the Washington County building at 205 dollars a square foot, with everything working against us. Which was nothing but miraculous to me. The finished result is an elegant, architectural building that sets itself apart from any other building in Southern Utah. And who knew that a parking structure could be just as beautiful and complement our county building so well? So, this team in my humble opinion has taken Washington County to a level that others before could only imagine.”
In addition to the design-build team, Felshaw thanked, recognized, and gave awards to numerous other people who contributed to the project.
After Felshaw’s remarks, a barbershop quartet sang a wonderous rendition of America the Beautiful.
Elder Mathew Holland of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints shared a few stories about the pioneer heritage of Washington County before dedicating the building.
He said, “Because our pioneer ancestors had vision, and they had faith, and they had determination, to make something spectacular. And we are the inheritors of it and under the leadership of these great servants and the wonderful citizens of this county, you’ve taken something wonderful and made it even more magnificent.”
Following the dedication, county officials, local dignitaries, and those involved in the project gathered to cut the ribbon on this historic building. As the ribbon was cut, the crowd cheered, fountains of sparklers went off, and fireworks exploded overhead in celebration.
After enjoying the refreshments, attendees had the opportunity to tour the public areas of the new 141,702 sq. ft. administration building.
Please see below for more coverage of the ribbon cutting and photos of the event.
Ribbon Cutting Photos
Courtesy of Washington County