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Remodel or rebuild?; Future of Stark County Social Services building undecided

The Stark County Social Services building needs a new look, officials said Friday, but there are plenty of details to be worked out.

"(The building) is just inadequate," said Ken Zander, Stark County Commission chairman. "It doesn't meet the needs that have developed there over the past 20 years or more it has been there."

The Stark County Commission has discussed the condition of the building, Zander said. Though nothing has been formally decided, the commissioners have been looking for different options.

One option would be to remodel the building. Zander said additions would be needed for office space, but remodeling might not be the best choice.

"When you are talking about remodeling, then you are talking about relocating offices on a temporary basis," Zander said. "I don't believe that remodeling that present facility would be the most economical way to go forward."

Zander also said the facility could be relocated and rebuilt. The commission showed interest in constructing a building on a lot on 23rd Avenue West and the Interstate 94 Business Loop. Underground pipeline on the site would make the erection difficult.

"The way the pipelines lay, the issues and the costs that would be involved ... to move them would be extremely costly," Commissioner Duane "Buck" Wolf said. "If they took the pipelines out of there and lost any fluids, the cleanup would be extremely expensive."

Phil Wallace, manager of Denbury Resource Inc. in Belfield, staked out the pipelines and said that building a structure on the lots would be improbable.

"It's just too bad that it was not taken care of better," Wolf said. "It would be a wonderful place to have a facility."

Zander said there are other lots that the county owns that can be considered.

If the commission decides to build, it could sell the existing building to help cover expenses. Zander said it was too early to determine how much a building would cost to construct.

He said before any decisions can be made a committee should be formed to assess the needs for social services. Planning for the facility should begin in the next three to four months.

"We are really in the beginning stages of discussion," Zander said.