Rising construction costs push new Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center facility price up by $2.5M

Commissioners plan to look for additional sources to fund the project after the second construction-induced cost jump this year. (Rendering courtesy Williamson County)
Commissioners plan to look for additional sources to fund the project after the second construction-induced cost jump this year. (Rendering courtesy Williamson County)

Commissioners plan to look for additional sources to fund the project after the second construction-induced cost jump this year. (Rendering courtesy Williamson County)

As a result of rising construction expenses, the cost to build a new Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center has increased by $2.5 million. The Williamson County Commissioners Court originally approved $5.5 million in 2019 for the project but added $1.8 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding in June, also because of construction costs.

Williamson County Facilities Director Dale Butler said during a Nov. 2 Commissioners Court meeting the increased cost, which now totals $9.8 million, comes after staff identified the best value bids for the project.

“We're back for a second time, unfortunately. Some unforeseen circumstances that we didn't have a crystal ball to foresee, but we're back for another $2.5 million to get this building built as it is designed today,” Butler said.

Commissioner Cynthia Long said that the court should also consider renovating the current facility, which Butler estimated would cost between $2.5 million-$3 million.

“My dilemma here is because we do have, not the ideal, but we do have an alternative that is a third of the cost to utilize,” Long said.


The WCCAC is temporarily being housed at 211 Commerce Blvd., Ste. 101, Round Rock, but the new facility would be on Wilco Way in Georgetown. The county owns the land of the current facility and provides maintenance services, county Public Affairs Manager Connie Odom said in an email.

WCCAC CEO Kerrie Stannel acknowledged the project cost is high and that the organization is willing to work with the county to find the right solution.

“Round Rock is not ideal because of where it's located because of the space around it,” Stannel said. “There's not outdoor space because of what else is located around it. It's very industrial, the other neighbors, etc.”

She added the proposed new space was intentionally designed to accommodate the services WCCAC provides, including forensic interviews and medical exams.

Butler said the county is locked into the $9.8 million total cost for 30 days, which will expire in late November.

The commissioners agreed to take up the item again later in November to try to identify additional sources of funding, including reaching out to cities in Williamson County.
By Benton Graham

Metro Reporter, Austin

Benton joined Community Impact Newspaper as a metro reporter covering transportation in Central Texas in June 2021. Benton's writing has appeared in Vox, The Austin Chronicle, Austonia and Reporting Texas. Originally from Minneapolis, Benton graduated from William & Mary and eventually moved to Austin in 2018.