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Firm recommends $87 million rebuild of Utah County admin, public works campuses

A firm contracted to prepare a facilities master plan for Utah County is recommending a $87 million rebuild of Utah County facilities to address issues like needing additional space as the county grows.

GSBS Architects has been working on the assessment for approximately the past year and a half, said Richard Nielson, Utah County Public Works director at a Utah County Commission work session Tuesday morning. Information can be presented and discussed in work sessions, but no decisions can be made.

The study was commissioned to provide a “long-term view for future facility needs to house County governmental functions,” according to the report.

The report projects needs out through 2040, while assuming that building additional space for growth beyond 2040 is the most cost-effective approach.

The county has several needs, according to the facilities master plan, including needed upgrades to comply with EPA standards, as well as additional adequate space as the county continues to grow.

For instance, the public works campus in south Provo needs additional structures for salt, fertilizer and hazardous chemicals in order to comply with EPA guidelines. The fuel tank is also beyond its recommended life, the report says, and is at risk for underground leaking.

In addition, the county currently owns large pieces of equipment too long or too tall for the bays at the current fleet maintenance facility.

The county’s administration building in downtown Provo is also inefficiently organized.

“Based on the evaluation of what you currently have, you are space constrained,” said Christine Richman with GSBS as she presented the plan to the commission. “ I think everybody who works within your buildings knows it’s really hard to find room for new functions or new needs.”

“Lack of investment in new space to accommodate services to the County’s growing population has reached a critical point,” the report said. “As space is converted to meet the County’s needs functionality and adjacency have suffered. For example, the Clerk Auditor function has space in all three buildings on the downtown campus.”

Unless the space issue is addressed now in the short term, the report says the situation will be exacerbated as the county population continues to grow.

GSBS Architects, the firm that conducted the study, presented multiple options to the commission Tuesday. All options included at least one new office building and seismic upgrade of the historic courthouse as well as an addition to the existing Health and Justice Building parking garage.

Option 1 would add one new building in the existing Health and Justice Building surface parking lot, a remodel of the current administration building to upgrade mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and improve overall building efficiency by recapturing some underutilized spaces, according to the plan. Option 1 is estimated at a cost of $72.2 million.

Option 2.1 would demolish the current 90,500-square-foot administration building and replace it with two new buildings totaling 259,100 square feet. The estimated cost would be $90.6 million

Option 2.2 is similar to 2.1, except that the second new building would be anticipated to be built at a later date, ready for occupancy by 2040. The estimated cost of that is $91.9 million, though the cost would initially be less, since the second new building would not be constructed immediately.

The firm’s recommendation is that the county start by moving the public works campus from south Provo to Spanish Fork, as the current campus has code compliance issues and an immediate need for nearly 30,000 additional square feet of space. Relocating the site to county-owned property in Spanish Fork adjacent to the Utah County Jail would allow the county to occupy the current location while construction is ongoing, according to the report. The report did not include cost estimates for this part of the recommendation.

Moving the public works campus first would also free up the old campus and administration building to relocate staff during the recommended construction of the downtown Provo Utah County Administration campus.

For the downtown administration campus, the recommendation is a modified version of option 2.1, to tear down the current county administration building and build two new buildings in its place. Each would be roughly 130,000 square feet and contain three stories of completed space, with two unfinished stories to accommodate future growth.

The estimated cost is $87.6 million for the recommended option.

Michael Schnell, special to the Herald 

Dalan Andersen, sponsor of "The A Team," serves the ball during the Salem Days Mud Volleyball tournament on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in Salem. Dalan has been participating in the event since 2004 and was part of the first generation of "The A Team," which is now in its second generation with Dalan and five nephews. See more photos at (Michael Schnell, special to the Daily Herald).

Everything you need to know about voting in Utah County's primary election

Nine Utah County cities will hold city council primaries on Aug. 13, and the deadline for registering to vote is coming up fast.

Tuesday is the last day for citizens to register to vote either online or in-person. Online registration is available at, while in-person registration can be done at the Utah County Clerk Elections Office at 100 E. Center St., Room 3100 in Provo.

The election is being conducted via vote by mail, and ballots were mailed about three weeks before the scheduled election.

Ballots can be returned via mail, at drop boxes or at a vote center on Election Day.

Dropbox centers

Six Utah County cities will have secure, curbside ballot drop boxes. These boxes are currently in place, and will be available to drop ballots at until 8 p.m. on Election Day. The drop boxes will be at the following locations:

  • Eagle Mountain City Office, 16550 E. Stage Coach Run, Eagle Mountain (located on the north end of the city office building).
  • Highland City Office, 5400 W. Civic Center Drive, Highland.
  • Lehi City Office, 1153 N. 100 East, Lehi.
  • Orem City Office, 56 N. State St., Orem (First box is located on Library Loop on 100 N. State St. Second drop box is located on the south end of the parking lot on State Street and Center Street).
  • Provo City Library, 550 N University Ave, on the north side next to the book return.

Early voting

Anyone who prefers to cast an in-person ballot at a polling place, lost their mailed ballot or did not receive a ballot in the mail can participate in early voting through Aug. 12 at the Utah County Elections Office, 100 E. Center St., Room 3100 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Election Day voting centers

Ballots may be cast at any of the following locations on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Eagle Mountain City Office, 1650 E. Stage Coach Run, Eagle Mountain.
  • Highland City Office, 5400 W. Civic Center Drive, Highland.
  • Lehi City Office, 153 N. 100 East, Lehi
  • Mapleton City Community Center, 125 W. 400 North, Mapleton.
  • Orem City Office, 56 N. State St., Orem
  • Pleasant Grove Community Room, 108 E. 100 South, Pleasant Grove.
  • Provo City Recreation Center, 320 W. 500 North, Provo.
  • Santaquin City Office, 275 W. Main St., Santaquin.
  • Springville Civic Center 110 S. Main St., Springville.

Eagle Mountain, Highland, Lehi, Mapleton, Orem, Pleasant Grove, Santaquin, Springville and Provo’s districts 3 and 4 will all have municipal primaries.

The general election will be held Nov. 5. More information about candidates can be found in the Daily Herald’s voting guide, and more information about the elections process can be found at

Texas governor: 20 dead in El Paso shopping-complex shooting

EL PASO, Texas — Twenty people were killed and more than two dozen injured in a shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town of El Paso, the state’s governor said.

Among the possibilities being investigated is whether it was a hate crime, the police chief said. Two law enforcement officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity identified the suspect taken into custody as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius. El Paso police haven’t released his name, but confirmed the gunman is from Allen near Dallas.

Police said another 26 people were injured and most were being treated at hospitals. Most of the victims were believed to have been shot at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall, they said, adding that the store was packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school shopping season.

“The scene was a horrific one,” said El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen, who described many of those hurt as having life-threatening injuries. He also said police found a post online that may have been written by the suspect — one reason authorities are looking at whether it was a hate crime.

El Paso, which has about 680,000 residents, is in West Texas and sits across the border from Juarez, Mexico.

Residents were quick to volunteer to give blood to the injured after the shooting, and police and military members were helping people look for missing loved ones.

“It’s chaos right now,” said Austin Johnson, an Army medic at nearby Fort Bliss, who volunteered to help at the shopping center and later at a school serving as a reunification center.

Adriana Quezada, 39, said she was in the women’s clothing section of Walmart with her two children when she “heard shots.”

“But I thought they were hits, like roof construction,” she said.

Her 19-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son threw themselves to the ground, then ran out of the store through an emergency exit. They were not hurt, Quezada said.

She said she saw four men, dressed in black, moving together firing guns indiscriminately. Police later said they believed the suspect was the “sole shooter” but were continuing to investigate reports that others were involved.

El Paso police Sgt. Robert Gomez said the suspect, who used a rifle, was arrested without incident.

The shooting came less than a week after a gunman opened fire on a California food festival. Santino William Legan, 19, killed three people and injured 13 others last Sunday at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival, and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Ryan Mielke, a spokesman for University Medical Center of El Paso, said 13 people were brought to the hospital with injuries after the Texas shooting, including one who died. Two of the injured were children who were being transferred to El Paso Children’s Hospital, he said. He wouldn’t provide additional details on the victims.

Eleven other victims were being treated at Del Sol Medical Center, hospital spokesman Victor Guerrero said. Those victims’ ages ranged from 35 to 82, he said.

Gov. Greg Abbott, who confirmed the number of victims at a news conference, called the shooting “a heinous and senseless act of violence” and said the state had deployed a number of law enforcement officers to the city. President Donald Trump tweeted: “Reports are very bad, many killed.”

Presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke appeared a bit shaken as he appeared at a candidate forum Saturday in Las Vegas shortly after news of the shooting in his hometown was reported. The Democrat said the shooting shatters “any illusion that we have that progress is inevitable” on tackling gun violence.

He said he heard early reports that the shooter might have had a military-style weapon, saying we need to “keep that (expletive) on the battlefield. Do not bring it into our communities.”

“We have to find some reason for optimism and hope or else we consign ourselves to a future where nearly 40,000 people a year will lose their lives to gun violence and I cannot accept that,” O’Rourke said.

El Paso has become a focal point of the immigration debate, drawing Trump in February to argue that walling off the southern border would make the U.S. safer, while city residents and O’Rourke led thousands on a protest march past the barrier of barbed wire-topped fencing and towering metal slats.

O’Rourke stressed that border walls haven’t made his hometown safer. The city’s murder rate was less than half the national average in 2005, the year before the start of its border fence. Before the wall project started, El Paso had been rated one of the three safest major U.S. cities going back to 1997.

Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, also said the El Paso shooting suspect wasn’t on her group’s radar screen prior to the shooting.

“We had nothing in our files on him,” Beirich wrote in an email.

The shooting is the 21st mass killing in the United States in 2019, and the fifth public mass shooting. Before Saturday, 96 people had died in mass killings in 2019 — 26 of them in public mass shootings.

The AP/USATODAY/Northeastern University mass murder database tracks all U.S. homicides since 2006 involving four or more people killed, not including the offender, over a short period of time regardless of weapon, location, victim-offender relationship or motive. The database shows that the median age of a public mass shooter is 28, significantly lower than the median age of a person who commits a mass shooting of their family.

Since 2006, 11 mass shootings — not including Saturday’s — have been committed by men who are 21 or younger.