So … what about that $25 million building?

Salt Lake County Criminal Justice Services building

In Monday’s post, “Is this really a $40 million problem?” we wrote about the news that Salt Lake County might build a $40 million “community corrections center.” We noted that only $4.5 million of that would go towards the corrections center. Of the remainder, $25 million would go for a Criminal Justice Services Division office building.

So what’s the purpose of the $25 million office building? We called Gary Dalton, director of Criminal Justice Services, to find out.

During a phone call with Sutherland Daily on Tuesday, Dalton said the $25 million would go toward a four-story, “highly architectural” building, including all the furnishings and overhead costs. When asked why the cost was so high, Dalton said, “That’s what the architect company proposed; we have never questioned the cost of it.”

Why would Dalton not question the cost, or at least request other proposals?

Dalton continued, “Our three-year lease is about up, and we are going to need a new building at that point.”

Criminal Justice is currently located in Salt Lake City, and with more than 100 employees, the division is running out of space to house everyone. “Criminal Justice is tired of paying $700,000 a year on a lease,” Dalton added.

Sutherland Daily asked Dalton if he had considered moving into a bigger building rather than spend $25 million on a new one.  Dalton’s response to this: “I don’t want to pay rent into the community anymore. With this new office building we will no longer be paying the landlord.”

But, at $700,000 per year for its current lease, Criminal Justice Services could stay for 35 years in its current building. Meanwhile, the main justification for spending $40 million (remember the community corrections center?) seems to be an afterthought.