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Southern Utah Report

Highway contractors faring well, building side continues to struggle

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...new airport’s runway will be 9,300 ft long and 150 ft wide – enough to accommodate a Boeing 737. The current airport’s runway is only 6,606 ft long and 100 ft wide.

Crews from Draper, Utah-based Wadsworth Bros. Construction work on the $4-million Valley View bridge project in Southern Utah.
Photo: Wadsworth Brothers
Crews from Draper, Utah-based Wadsworth Bros. Construction work on the $4-million Valley View bridge project in Southern Utah.
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“It’s the only airport currently being built in the country and every airport manager is looking at us and how we’re building it,” says Kitchen. “This is a very important project for the entire Southern Utah community. This will open up a whole new spectrum for businesses in the area and will help stimulate economic development.”

Quality Excavation of St. George is doing the paving and sitework, while Westland Construction of Salt Lake City is building the new terminal. Kitchen says right now everything is on schedule for completion by January 2011.

“We’re rolling along, right on schedule and right on budget,” says Kitchen. “Everything is looking really good.” He says that more than 5 million cu yd of dirt have been moved and that site work, including grading, drainage and utilities, took more than a year.

Kitchen says approximately $120 million of the total $168 million is coming from FAA grant money; another $40 million was raised by selling the existing airport property to Anderson Development of Salt Lake City.

“The city is not raising taxes to help pay for this project – it’s not costing local citizens any money,” he says.

Smaller Projects

Cedar City, 50 miles north of St. George, is also experiencing a major slowdown in commercial construction.

Chad Carter, secretary-treasurer of Carter Enterprises of Cedar City, says his firm is doing whatever is necessary to keep revenues coming in.

“We’ve just had to diversify to try and stay busy,” says Carter, whose company’s only major project currently is a $9-million, 68,000-sq-ft aquatic center in Cedar City. Carter Enterprises is also building two pump station/well house projects—a $200,000 one for Iron County and a $350,000 one for Cedar City Corp.

“They’re small projects, but it’s what you have to do to keep afloat,” Carter says. “I was talking the other day to somebody we’ve done some private projects for, and he’s about shut down because he can’t get any money (from banks). There doesn’t seem to be a lot of work coming for 2010, especially in the private sector.”

Springdale, just outside Zion National Park, is one area that has seen some private development recently. A 10,500-sq-ft expansion of the Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens was completed in October, just outside the entrance to Zion.

General manager Colin Dockstader says the $2-million project added 10 rooms to the existing 41 at the lodge. He says the project would not have happened without funding from the State Bank of Southern Utah.

“It was huge investment for us, but one we felt confident in making,” Dockstader says. “We’ve had this plan in place for a while, and although some hotels in Springdale are down 20%-30%, we didn’t see anything near that. We had our third best year ever out of the last 20 years.”

Dockstader says one advantage of building during this rough economy was getting a better overall value for the money invested.

“It was a huge benefit building this project now because of the value we received,” he adds. “(St. George-based) Wheeler Construction did a great job for us, and I was really happy we could do something in a time like this where people were able to get some work out of it.”

Another project in Springdale currently under construction is the Sol Foods Market in the center of town. The 10,500-sq-ft project includes an underground parking structure and was designed for maximum energy efficiency. Cost of the project is undisclosed at the owner’s request.

“It’s an exciting project for a grocery store,” says architect Peter Stempel of Stempel Form PC Architects of Virgin, Utah. “We’re actually quite busy, which is unique from what I hear. We’re trying to incorporate as much energy efficiency into our designs as possible.”


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