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Canyon County breaks ground on new elections building using federal ARPA funds

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Canyon County breaks ground on new elections building using federal ARPA funds

Jun 13, 2024 | 7:00 am ET
By Lexie Ponce
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Canyon County breaks ground on new elections building using federal APRA funds
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The Board of Canyon County Commissioners breaks grounds for the upcoming Canyon County Elections Building at a ceremony in May. (Courtesy of Canyon County)

Canyon County has broken grounds on a new elections building with the help of federal funds.

The new facility is set for completion in late 2024 or early 2025, and it will span 16,500 square feet, according to a press release from Canyon County. 

The project is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, also known as ARPA. This was a $1.9 trillion financial aid package signed into law by President Joe Biden in 2021 to address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Canyon County has received $44.6 million in ARPA funds, and still has $36.1 million to use, according to the 2024 Canyon County budget. The elections facility will cost $4.7 million in ARPA funds.

December 2024 is the deadline for ARPA funds to be contracted and allocated. Canyon County must spend the funds by December 2026.

Other projects Canyon County is interested in pursuing include a warehouse project and a project with the Canyon County Ambulance District, according to the county budget. ARPA funding is already being used for the construction of a Sheriff’s Administration Building and enhancements to the West Valley Humane Society’s kennels and roof, Boise Dev reported.

The elections facility will address the needs of Canyon County’s growing population without raising local taxes. 

 New election building to address previous facility challenges

Canyon County officials told the Sun that the new elections facility will accommodate Canyon County’s growing population. 

Canyon County is the second largest county in Idaho, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and Idaho Department of Labor. It also leads all Idaho counties in total population growth, the Idaho Press reported. 

In 2010, Canyon County had a population of 188,923. According to the latest census data, this number increased by 22.3% to 231,105 people by 2020. 

Canyon County breaks ground on new elections building using federal ARPA funds
The image above shows the design of the future Canyon County Elections Building. (Courtesy of Canyon County)

“We are busting at the seams when it comes to space,” Haley Hicks, the Canyon County Elections Manager, told the Idaho Capital Sun. “The new building will have specific rooms and areas that will provide more space and allow more people to actually come in and get engaged as well.” 

The current elections office in Canyon County is limited in its 4,000 square foot space which has been causing challenges such as off-site training and limited storage for polling equipment, Canyon County Clerk Rick Hogaboam told the Sun. The new building, he said,  will provide almost four times the space offering more office and training spaces, more storage, a larger parking lot and an improved drive-thru voting design.

These upgrades will improve operational efficiency and enhance election integrity, Hogaboam said.

Hogaboam said the new facility will welcome students on field trips to learn about the electoral process and potential internship opportunities.

“I would like for our young people to learn how elections work at a younger age, and we could also have more space for interns,” he said.