N.M. Rehab Center Project In Question
(05/10/2011)

CARLSBAD, N.M. The planned drug rehabilitation facility at the Eddy County Detention Center in Carlsbad has experienced another setback in its six-year struggle to open its doors to the public.

The county recently realized it had failed to spend a legislative grant of $580,000 before the June 30 deadline, when the money will revert to the state if not spent on construction materials.

County Human Resource Director Kenney Rayroux, who was tasked by the county commission to help oversee the project, told commissioners it could either approve a modification to the already-awarded contract to allow immediate purchase of materials and store them until construction begins or let the grant lapse and spend $580,000 of its own money to complete the project.

The commission approved the advance purchase of materials with the understanding that the county may have to cover the difference in expenses.

Rayroux said the county can only be reimbursed by the state for materials it physically has in its possession by June 30. While things like cinder blocks would be easy to obtain, he said, electronics are more difficult to procure and might not be in the countys possession by the deadline.

The rehab facility, which is to be built on the north side of the detention center, has experienced problems since it was proposed to the commission six years ago.

The commission originally planned to build a regional facility, but when cost estimates ran close to $14 million, commissioners reduced the scope of the project. The county simultaneously obtained $1.2 million in legislative grants and decided to build the smaller facility using only the grant funding.

Former Gov. Bill Richardson subsequently rescinded the $1.2 million, which the county had not yet spent, to close the budget gap, but local legislators were able to reinstate the funding.

In March, the commission awarded a contract to Albuquerque, N.M.-based Southwest CM for the construction of the facility, which submitted a low base bid of $887,305. With the added gross receipts taxes of $65,993, the total for the base bid came to $953,298.

Around that time the commission also approved an additional $24,000 for the exterior finish of the facility, which will match the main complex.

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