The town of Dolores is gearing up to remodel a new office building it purchased into the new Town Hall.
The town bought the 4,500-square-foot building at 601 Central Ave. for $379,000 in September.
Its layout is a better fit for government offices, and the building is in much better condition than the current town hall, which needs an estimated $1.5 million in upgrades and repairs.
“It is just not financially practical to continue the many repairs on the current Town Hall, and it was not originally designed for office space,” said building inspector David Doudy.
In December, the town was awarded a $375,000 Department of Local Affairs grant to remodel the new building and tear down the old Town Hall, which will be transformed into a community plaza as part of Flanders Park. The town’s purchase of the building was the grant match.
The project grant award was based on “degree of need, measurable outcomes, relationship to community goals, level of local match and community support, management capacity, resiliency and readiness to go,” stated Rick M. Garcia, DOLA executive director, in a Dec. 22 letter to town.
Remodeling will begin soon, with Dolores Public Works staff doing the majority of the work. Contractors will be hired for electrical and plumbing jobs. The town plans to move in this summer.
The Journal took a tour of the new town hall space this week.
The building has a modern office complex appearance.
It was extensively remodeled in 2017 by a previous owner, Southwest Health System of Cortez, which planned a medical clinic for the site, said Doudy.
The clinic plan was dropped by Southwest Memorial Hospital, but SHS had already completed $475,000 worth of improvements on the building, said Dolores Town Manager Ken Charles.
Still, the layout needs some adjustment to accommodate town government, public services, and law enforcement.
Solar panels on the current Town Hall will be moved over to the new building, which will get a new roof.
The roof is in good shape, Doudy said, but has 10 to 15 years of use left. Replacing it now will prevent having to move the solar panels later for roof repairs.
Information Technology systems, including high-speed internet will be wired in the building. Walls will be taken down, or moved, security features will put in place, and a new board room constructed. The entire building will have a modern air-conditioning and cooling system.
The new layout also includes an office for the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, which provides law enforcement for Dolores. The space has its own entrance and security features.
The building overall will be “hardened for security” as part of Colorado regulations for government offices, Doudy said.
Public service areas are separate from government offices by key-pass doors, walls and Plexiglas.
At the east public entrance, customers will have access to service windows for the town clerk and assistant clerk. There will be a waiting area.
The west entrance will be into the new town boardroom, which has a capacity of 110 people, up from 45 in the current town hall. The space will also be designed for town court proceedings, including a jury box and there is a jury deliberation room nearby.
The new board meeting room has public bathroom at the back easily accessible for meeting attendees.
In the old Town Hall, members of the public are forced to walk behind the town board to reach the bathroom.
Two large media screens will be installed in the new boardroom so the public and board can observe presentations and documents.
Town staff and the board will be separated from the audience, have a separate exit in case of an emergency.
The new Town Hall has spacious offices for the town manager and financial officer. There is also a jury room, staff kitchen, IT room and conference rooms.
There is parking space for 15 to 20 cars, up from eight spaces at the old Town Hall.
“It is a vast improvement for the public and staff, and will save taxpayer money in the long run. We are excited to get to work and move in,” Doudy said.