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New Social Services building could cost $6 million

A new Stark County Social Services building could cost as much as $6 million. At Tuesday's monthly meeting of Stark County Commissioners, JLG architect Isaac Karley made a presentation to commissioners on a potential addition to the facility on W...

A new Stark County Social Services building could cost as much as $6 million.

At Tuesday’s monthly meeting of Stark County Commissioners, JLG architect Isaac Karley made a presentation to commissioners on a potential addition to the facility on West 12th Street.

The site was reviewed by chemical, civil, structural and electrical engineers, Karley said, and JLG met with all staff supervisors for future staff counts and space needs.

"There was no space for staff growth," Karley said. "There's staff that's sharing offices and they've been remodeling the building repeatedly just to separate some offices into two to make more space."

The building also has security issues.

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"They have to bring people through the building from the lobby all the way to the back just to get to a conference room," he said, "and if there's someone who's upset, they get paraded through the entire building and it can be disruptive to the other clients."

The 40-year-old metal building is nearing its life expectancy, Karley explained.

"There's notable cracking in the floors and the walls, which we suspect have come from some structural issues within the building, but we can't really know until we dig into it," he said.

An addition of 6,600 feet, the same size as the existing building, extending north for 110 feet, would cost roughly $2.5 million. This would add 10 offices.

This option would mean a minimal interruption to services offered there and would meet the county's goal of "enhancing security and future growth." A disadvantage to the option is there would be no possibility of expanding again and the site will continue to age.

A second option, costing roughly $5.5 million, would build the addition, then fully renovate the interior of the existing building to better meet their space needs.

Commissioner Ken Zander asked about the possibility of a new building on a new site.

Karley said the cost, depending on the site, would be about $5.5 million to $6 million for the same size, one-story building.

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"It would allow you to grow into the future much easier, I think," he said.

Commissioners agreed to consider other options, including existing commercial sites.

"Just from looking at this, I think we've definitely got to look at alternative solutions to our situation," Commissioner Russ Hoff said.

In other business:

Bids were also opened for a low-water crossing for Green River at 35th Street Southwest.

Five bids were received. Commissioners approved the low bid from Martin Construction Inc. of Dickinson of $312,185.

Consultant KLJ Engineering estimated the project at $410,000.

"It was difficult to decide what type of structure to put in there," Al Heiser, Stark County road superintendent, said. "Hopefully we made the right choice."

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With the new bridge, traffic on the road will likely increase tenfold, Heiser said.

"We'll probably have to maybe do a little upgrading, maybe some graveling that road. It's been a lot of years since we've done anything to it," he said. "The people living out there who want to get to north side of town, that's going to be a quick get-across."

The project was applauded by the commissioners.

"It should've been done years and years ago," Commissioner Pete Kuntz said.

Commissioners also discussed a planned open house and dedication day for the Stark County Courthouse's new addition.

"We're wanting to wait until we have some good weather," Zander said. "I'd like to set it up so we can have the facility open to the general public."

He added, "We want them to know what the commissioners are doing."

The addition and renovations, Zander said, were paid for with capital improvement dollars and from gas and oil revenue.

"This building is paid for and with no debt," he said. "It's unusual for any government entity to do that."

Related Topics: STARK COUNTY
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