Hurricanes impacting Wichita Co. project

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WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Wichita County Commissioners are preparing to scale back costs on some construction projects because of an expected price increase due to recent hurricanes along the Gulf of Florida and South East Texas.

Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said they learned from price increases after the last hurricane hit Florida.

"Texas is a growing economy and so there is a pretty good demand for both labor and supplies," Judge Gossom said. "That's going to have a factor in our jail."

"We're having more trouble getting materials now than I have seen my whole life," Larry Scott owner of Builders Lumber Company said. He has been in the construction business for almost 50 years.

"We've managed to keep the material coming in whether that's true 60 days from now may be different," Scott said. In two months is when repairs are expected to be made to the Florida Gulf coast that means a shorter supply and an increase in price.

To pay for the rising prices in construction material, Judge Gossom said changes will be made to some facilities inside the Wichita County jail such as the Law Enforcement Center.

"We are going to stay within [the county] budget, there isn't a pile of money sitting around," Judge Gossom said. "We'll have to adjust the plans."

They will put more cubicles instead and fewer private offices, a change from the building's original design.

"The kind of commercial doors we use is about $2,000 a door," Judge Gossom said. "You might want to cut down the number of doors."

He said they will keep certain rooms will remain as planned such as interrogation rooms.

The county will also cut the amount of parking Vernon College Training Center will have available and the new material the parking spots will be made from. The college leased parking from the county.

"When we first said what size parking lot do you need? [they said] 250 sounds good," Judge Gossom said. "Well, that's too expensive so it's coming back."

The county and the college are trying to find a number of parking spots that is affordable and works for both institutions.

Judge Gossom said if the college has events then visitation time for the jail will be adjusted so the college can have more parking spots.

Judge Gossom said the budget will remain as it is, which includes the seven percent tax increase voters approved in May to pay for the new jail, no matter the rise in construction material prices.

The county is awaiting a guaranteed maximum price from the construction manager to find out how much cuts to the other projects will be made.

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