Letter to the Editor: Response to "Qualifications"
Recently, Mel Coonrod of Helper sent a letter titled, "Qualifications" to the Sun Advocate containing information that was inaccurate. As a representative of Ascent Construction, I'm writing to address the comments made regarding the new Courts and Administration building. I appreciate when people express themselves publicly through print media. However, I feel the readers of this paper need to hear the truth.
Item #1. The new Carbon County Courts and Administration building is not costing $500 per square foot. I don't know where that cost came from. The real cost is about half of that amount. There have been a few changes orders which are typical in construction. However, to say there are "huge costs and cost overruns" is not true. This project, minus the few change orders, is tracking right at the original budget. It will be a beautiful facility-the administrative home of many county departments-a building of which Carbon County can be proud.
Item #2. As the contractor of this great project and 10 others in Carbon County (Senior Activity Center, Children Justice Center, Sheriff Intake Building, DNR Administration building, Utah Power Credit Union, and others) Ascent Construction has always tried to use as many local subcontractors as possible. We have been very happy with the local talent and will continue to do all we can to help keep the local economy strong. Furthermore, Ascent posted all trade opportunities so that subcontractors with the interest, desire and ability to perform quality work could submit a bid. Regarding concrete for this project, Ascent is getting concrete from the Geneva batch plant in Helper. We are not trucking concrete from Salt Lake City two hours away. Ascent did contract with Nielson Construction in October, 2013 to perform Asphalt paving and finish grading. In most cases we contract with subcontractors that provide the best price and value. This helps keep costs in line which is especially critical for a project of this size.
Item #3. Regarding hiring a commissioner's father-in-law, I have no idea where that came from. We have hired Nelco for all site and utilities work-(another local contractor). There is a connection to one of the commissioners through Nelco. In a small town, there are going to be family connections, right? Comments about nepotism are totally unfounded. Ascent has its own management team who leads all construction efforts. We also hired (through a temp agency) five local residents for finish carpentry, framing and various labor responsibilities.
Item #4. While the original article appeared to be an attempt to disparage the Carbon County Commissioners, Ascent has been very impressed with John Jones, Casey Hopes and Jae Potter. Their insights, involvement and leadership have been important to the success of this project as they have worked hard to serve the people and further the vision of Carbon County.
As a contractor constructing in Carbon County for the past 14 years, we are grateful for the many local relationships we have built and connections with excellent subcontractors that serve the community well. Ascent has sponsored many local events and feels a deep sense of connection and loyalty to the community. I love that we live in a country where we can express ourselves freely. However, the world is full of negativism and half-truths. I think it's important for all of us to do our part in building up and strengthening our communities through the positive things we do and say.