Flagstaff Puts USGS Project on Hold

Credit: United States Geological Survey

Soaring construction costs have led the City of Flagstaff to pause a project that would renovate and modernize the United States Geological Survey campus near Buffalo Park.

Flagstaff owns the campus, land and buildings and leases them to USGS. Plans to upgrade the space have been in planning and preparation for at least a decade. Many of the buildings were constructed in the 1970s, and the most recent proposal had been to demolish and replace two structures. A new warehouse and lab office space would have been built before their current versions were demolished.

When the plan was first estimated in 2016, costs were projected at $20.8M. Those costs rose to $27.8M in 2018 and were revised again to $38.2M this year.

The Flagstaff City Council approved going ahead with the project in September. City staff, federal officials and USGS have worked to revise the plans so the project could advance, but the rising estimates have proven insurmountable for the time being, and Council voted to approve a recommendation that the project be delayed until a solution could be determined.

In the wake of pandemic-induced remote work and other changes to work patterns, USGS may use the delay to reevaluate its needs for space on the campus, according to Flagstaff officials.

City officials stressed all parties are still interested in the project and hope a better and more cost-effective solution will be developed. (Source)

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