County in a $100 million building spree


San Luis Obispo County is in a building spree.

The county has four major capital improvement projects under construction valued at nearly $100 million. Another two projects valued at more than $20 million are planned.

County Public Works and General Services officials updated the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday on the status of a variety of construction projects ranging from the restoration of the Cayucos pier to a new passenger terminal at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.

Supervisors were supportive of the construction projects, but Supervisor Debbie Arnold said she was anxious to keep costs down. The work is being paid for through a combination of state and federal grants, county fees and county general fund money.

The four main capital improvement projects at various stages of completion are:

Cayucos pier reconstruction: Workers installed 222 new piles and made other improvements to the historical structure at a cost of $4 million. The project is nearly complete and the pier is scheduled to reopen to the public Oct. 31.

Women’s jail expansion: At $40 million, this is the most expensive project. Construction of the facility is half complete. When complete in October 2016, the facility will be able to house up to 198 female inmates. Deputy Public Works Director Dave Flynn said the project has fallen several months behind schedule because the rocky soil at the site made it difficult for the construction company to lay the building’s foundation.

Juvenile hall expansion. This $21 million project is also about half complete. It calls for adding 20 additional sleeping units as well as educational and recreational facilities. The project is ahead of schedule and under budget and is slated for completion in July 2016.

New airport terminal. Ground was broken for this $32 million project on Oct. 10 and is expected to take more than two years to complete. It calls for a new 48,550-square-foot passenger terminal needed in order to meet future demand and comply with Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

The county is also planning to build a new animal shelter and a new emergency dispatch center that will handle both Sheriff’s Office and Cal Fire dispatches. The new animal shelter is expected to cost from $10 million to $12 million and the dispatch center will cost from $11 million to $13 million, Flynn said.

Supervisors approved the construction of a new animal shelter in April. Three possible locations have been identified near the existing animal shelter at the end of Oklahoma Avenue.

The county grand jury recommended that the two dispatch centers be co-located because each is currently housed in undersized and antiquated facilities with no room for expansion. The facility could be completed as early as late 2018.