Supply chain issues impact construction of Gateway Center

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Three years ago, Albuquerque residents voted to spend millions on what city officials called our solution to homelessness. But there have been obstacles in getting the Gateway Center up and running – the latest is supply chain issues. 

On Wednesday, KOB went inside the Gibson Health Hub to look at the progress made up to this point, and to find out if the construction is still on schedule. 

Walking through the construction zone, the Gateway Center is starting to take shape. 

“If you are a resident of the Gateway Center you will be coming though this door here,” CABQ Family and Community Services Department’s Operations Manager Doug Chaplin said as he brought us inside. 

With the walls now laid out – some even with sheet rock in place – it’s easy to picture what will soon be an entryway. It will have lockers, where the bathrooms will be, you can see the layout of offices, and even the bunk room that will serve up to 50 homeless women when they open. 

“There will be beds on both sides of this room,” Chaplin pointed out. “One single bed with partition between beds for privacy.” 

Even as the plan starts to come together, they’ve run into some issues getting all the supplies they need. 

“We began meeting with our contractor and consolidating of builders early on in the process and started looking at supply chain bottlenecks, and issues, and what that might mean to us,” Chaplin said. 

They learned a lot of important items they would need, were on back order. 

“Some of the things that we had to plan for and did plan for initially were things like door frames and metal core doors, those were out 20 weeks,” Chaplin explained. 

Windows were out 16 weeks, control panels for heating and cooling systems were out about 10 weeks. Meaning they had to reorder their priorities when it came to the construction timeline. 

“In the construction business when you can’t do what you want to do now, you do the next thing right? So there are so many things that need to happen before you need the door frames, you need all the framing, all the sheet rock in place, all the electrical and plumbing in the walls, the heating and cooling units, there are a lot of things we can do and anticipate that,” Chaplin explained. 

As those materials become available Chaplin says they will bring on more staff, and they will increase and accelerate the building process and stay on track maybe get open a little earlier. 

But this whole process started nearly three years ago in 2019. Voters approved $14 million for the construction of the Gateway Center. At the time there was no set location. 

There were talks of working with UNM and putting it in that neighborhood, but those plans fell through. Then last year the city set their eyes on the Gibson Health Hub. 

“We acquired this in April of 2021, so we have only been here for a little over a year, year and a half maybe,” Chaplin said. 

Then began the legal processes to change the zoning and be granted a conditional use permit. The last 10 months the city’s lawyers have been working with the surrounding neighborhood associations to put together good neighbor agreements. 

While all of that was going on the Family and Community Services Department were working on conceptual designs and demolition inside the Gateway Center. 

“You drive by a building, and you can’t see what’s going on but there has been a lot of stuff happening here throughout this whole time,” Chaplin said. 

While we don’t have any hard dates of when the Gateway Center will open, they now say they will be able to put people in beds by spring 2023.