Work is underway in Ignacio on a new office building for the Southern Ute Growth Fund.
The building, which is located immediately to the north of the existing Growth Fund building and is slated for completion in summer 2015, will include 48,269 square feet of space and house 130 employees, according to data provided by Bob Zahradnik, the Growth Fund’s operating director.
Executive Director Bruce Valdez said the growth in recent years of the tribe’s flagship energy company, Red Willow Production Co., has forced the Growth Fund to relocate staffers in other departments to offices in Durango. The new building will bring many of those employees back to Ignacio and free up space at the tribe’s Three Springs complex for new tenants.
“Due to overcrowding, we’ve moved parts of the operation,” Valdez said. “Now that we’re seeing Three Springs grow, we’re needing room there as well.”
Moving into the new building will be the Growth Fund administration, human resources, finance and accounting, and information technology staff, as well as the Department of Energy, Southern Ute Shared Services, and the GF Private Equity Group.
Valdez said the existing Growth Fund building will, in effect, become the Red Willow building.
While the tribe will maintain a presence in Durango, bringing most of the staff back to the tribal campus will rekindle professional connections and make doing business easier, Valdez said.
“It’s a little bit hard for us to have that disconnect,” he said. “Now we’ll be able to bring those key functions back. … I don’t have to drive into Durango to make that meeting; I can just walk down the hall.”
Part of the project will include the construction of a new traffic signal on Colorado Highway 172 and a pedestrian crossing. The project also calls for a landscape plaza between the two Growth Fund buildings, creating a “campus setting.”