County gets project update; new building brought up again

New county administration building discussed during project update

New County Building Downtown Possible

EL PASO, Texas - El Paso County has a slew of ongoing projects. From two new county annexes that would house specific departments and constable offices, to large projects like the multimillion-dollar Sportspark, the new county port of entry in east El Paso County and updates to the jail annex, the county's public works manager has his hands full.

On Monday, county leaders got a full update on the progress of every project moving forward in the county.

There was good news, including the fact that the northwest annex is several weeks ahead of schedule.

"Yes sir, we are about six to eight weeks ahead of schedule," said Ernie Carrizal, the county's public works director.

Commissioner Pat Abeln even questioned if the schedule needed to be reviewed to ensure the proper equipment and furniture would be available once construction wraps up.

Meanwhile, work remains stalled on the other side of the border that is part of El Paso County's biggest construction project -- the new international bridge in Tornillo. Carrizal told county leaders that the port of entry building is nearing completion. The bridge is already completed. While the bridge hasn't begun on the Mexican side, there was good news. Carrizal said he's confident that things are falling into place for the federal government to eventually pick up some of the construction tab to connect the necessary roads to make the international bridge feasible.

"There is a possibility that that would save $17.1 million," said Carrizal.

After hearing the news, County Judge Veronica Escobar pointed out that the money is already slated for spending by the county. If the government picks up that cost, it would free up the money for other projects.

"That means we would have $17 million for the downtown building," said Escobar, referencing a downtown administration building. "When we issued the 2012 bonds, we said that the secondary priority for this money would be a downtown administration building."

Escobar even told Carrizal to look into putting an item on a future meetings' agenda so that commissioners could discuss the issue further. 

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