The El Paso County Elections officers will get some long-awaited elbow room when they move their offices this weekend to the El Paso County Citizen’s Center, formerly the Intel campus, on Garden of the Gods Road.
The Clerk to the Board and Elections will move into 118 workstations on the second floor of the center, where Elections will have 10 counters instead of the five at their current office in Centennial Hall downtown.
The elections space was deliberately designed with large windows so that people could watch elections officers process ballots, count and record them, said Alissa Vander Veen, El Paso County special project manager.
“Denver County moved in this direction,” she said. “And, we thought we would like to do this – to be more transparent but to have a controlled environment.”
Construction crews from G.E. Johnson are completing the final work on the second floor of the center including painting, setting up desks and preparing the electrical system.
Construction at the new Citizen’s Center cost about $13.8 million, said Monnie Gore, Deputy County Administrator, who is overseeing implementation of the move.
Vander Veen is excited about the additional space every department will have in the new center.
Each workstation – operations, counting, and results – is double the size of the current space, where members of the public crowded in doorways on election night to receive results.
“This floor was a shell,” Vander Veen said. “We got to design all this space.”
Also moving into the Citizen’s Center this month is the Treasurer’s Office and Assessors Office. The Treasurer’s Office will be closed Sept. 19 and the Assessors Office will be closed Sept. 15-19. Both offices will open in their new location Sept. 20
Later this month, the Department of Motor Vehicles will move into the Citizen’s Center. The new office expects to handle about 20 percent of all Motor Vehicle traffic at 16 counters. The county will keep 10 counters open in Centennial Hall.
Last October, El Paso County completed its $25 million, 289,000-square-foot office and industrial building purchase at the former Intel campus, dubbed the Corporate Ridge Office and Technology Center.
The county’s move to the Garden of the Gods Road center was meant to help solve the county’s building woes. Last year, the county’s citizen budget oversight committee identified $385 million in capital needs over the next three decades. County administrators went to work to find ways to meet those capital needs, which included the purchase of the former Intel building.
The plan was designed to reduce maintenance costs, reduce off-site storage and increase parking spaces for the public. The total cost of all these moves is $49.5 million.
The Citizen’s Center will be more like a one-stop shop with most of the county services in one location, Vander Veen said. For customers, there will be 500 free parking spaces in the covered garage. And, for employees, the new center features a full cafeteria and fitness center.
Intel left furniture, the kitchen pots and pans and office dividers.
“We just reconfigured it,” Vander Veen said.
The Department of Human Services was the first county office to relocate to the center. About 500 DHS workers and community partners moved in March.