Construction on the new Chaves County War Memorial is slated to begin this week in hopes of erecting the monument just before the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.
â€œHopefully it will be done before Sept. 9,â€ and in time for a dedication ceremony slated for Saturday, Sept. 10,â€ˆWar Memorial Committee president Michael Trujillo said Tuesday in an interview.
The war memorial, intended to be an addition to the Veterans Memorial in front of the Chaves County Administrative Center, originally had trouble getting off the ground when county commissioners discovered it would cost $100,000 more than what was anticipated in administrative fees from the South Carolina-based contracting firm Gordian Group.
The additional expenses brought the total price to $264,000. So the county canceled the contract it had with Gordian Group in November, although the county had already spent $128,600 on marble granite, and the state put the contract out for bid again.
The contract was awarded to Albuquerque-based FacilityBUILD Commercial Construction Services in late April.
County Purchasing Director Tammy Johnson says the county saves about $135,500 with the new contract. The FacilityBUILDâ€ˆcontract totals about $145,000; the Gordian Groupâ€™s $280,500.
The memorial project was spearheaded by the Chaves County commissioners who recently allocated $65,000 for the memorial in their 2012 budget, in addition to the $150,000 approved for the project late last year.
Members and veterans in the community also helped raise money for the memorial by launching a Memorial Brick Campaign, which to date has raised about $14,000, Trujillo says. The committee is still selling bricks for $100 each, and interested donors can fill out an application online at co.chaves.nm.us/.
President of E&CSâ€ˆElectric and Vietnam-era veteran Jim Bloodhart, is donating the electric work, which otherwise would have cost about $2,000, Johnson says.
Trujillo says he looks forward to the memorial finally being constructed.
â€œItâ€™s to honor the soldiers that sacrificed all,â€ he said. â€œThe freedoms we have today, itâ€™s because of them.â€
The dedication ceremony is scheduled to be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 10, on the front lawn of the Chaves County Courthouse, where the monument is to be situated. Guest speakers at the ceremony will include Trujillo, an Iraqi War veteran, and Erasmo Valles Jr., of Hobbs, also an Iraqi War veteran, who was injured in combat. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., was also invited to attend, Trujillo said.