A $1.2 million redesign of the recycling center that will greatly expand the administrative space for Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling staff has been approved by the Board of County Commissioners.

The approved funds will cover the first two phases of the project.

“I think we just need to take care of the critical elements,” Teton County Commissioner Paul Vogelheim said.

The first two phases include adding office space, grading improvements for the parking lot and building a storage area for recycling equipment. The second two phases include a residential drop-off area and a dry storage area for baled recyclables.

Commissioners initially balked at the price tag, estimated at $1.6 million to build all four phases, because the cost came in at more than double the initial projection. Heather Overholser, chief of the Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling division, returned to the commission last week with a proposal that cut $70,000 from the budget but increased the contingency budget from 12 to 15 percent.

“We’ve been seeing very high inflation rates year to year,” Overholser told the board. “We thought it would be safe to increase it so we’re not … having a bid that’s higher than the estimate.”

Because the two adjustments left the total cost the same, Overholser suggested the commission approve the “most critical” elements first — the first two phases — and push the subsequent phases into the next fiscal year.

Originally the goal of redesigning the facility was to include needed administrative space; five employees are now crammed into a 286-square-foot space, with a sixth working in a room that doubles as a break room. The new building will increase administrative space to about 2,800 square feet.

As the planning process progressed, however, additional room for storage and operations was also considered, which would prepare the site for future expansion. The recycling center, located on Adams Canyon Road, was built in 1995 and is the site of recycling collection, processing and storage, as well as division offices.

The project is expected to be bid out in February.

Contact Melissa Cassutt at 732-7076 or county@jhnewsandguide.com.

Allie Gross covers Teton County government. Originally from the Chicago area, she joined the News&Guide in 2017 after studying politics and Spanish at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

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