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CONSTRUCTION SOARING IN SEVIER

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Sevier County residents who have built new homes during the past four years have faced skyrocketing costs, but that hasn't adversely affected the volume of construction.

The number of new homes constructed more than quadrupled and the average cost of one dwelling nearly doubled during the period. The value of commercial building declined, however.The cost of the average new home has risen from $48,900 to $92,000 from 1992 through 1995 and the volume in permits from $2.3 million to $9.4 million, according to John Hicks, county building inspector.

Commercial building declined in 1995, however, largely because a permit was issued the previous year to construct a new criminal court complex. Total cost of the facility and equipment exceeded $10 million; the construction contract was about $7.3 million.

Hicks said 47 permits were issued for the $2.3-million value in residential construction in 1992. This increased to $5.3 million with 80 permits in 1993, surged to $8.3 million with 96 permits and increased again with 102 permits and values of about $9.4 million in 1995.

Some 41 permits were issued in Richfield, 23 in the unincorporated areas, 13 in Monroe and 10 in Salina.

In the commercial category, Hicks said 14 permits were valued at $8.9 million in 1994. The court complex accounted for about $7.8 of the total new construction costs.

Building costs were estimated at $1.2 million with 10 permits issued in 1995.

Another $2.8 million was spent for expansion projects with a dozen permits authorized. These included the Ashman Elementary School for $789,000, Larsen's Ace Hardware at $654,000 and the Quality Inn costing $350,000, all in Richfield.