Design, bids soughtThe Douglas County Board on Thursday decided it would move ahead with design and bidding to finish building out the Government Center to provide space for two state agencies.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
The Douglas County Board on Thursday decided it would move ahead with design and bidding to finish building out the Government Center to provide space for two state agencies.
The board went into closed session to discuss the nature of the county’s negotiations with the state before voting to move ahead with plans to move the state’s probation and parole, and public defender’s offices in Superior into space once designated for a third courtroom.
The decision came after the Department of Corrections’ probation and parole division approached the county about leasing the unfinished space in the second floor of the jail.
“We’re not happy with the services we receive,” Jared Hoy, parole field supervisor, said concerning space currently leased in downtown Superior.
From a practical standpoint, he said, being located in the Government Center would offer the agency a number of efficiencies including reducing the number of trips agents have to make from the downtown location to the courthouse and improving agent and public safety by having law enforcement personnel readily available if a client becomes violent. Hoy estimates 95 percent of the work conducted by the agency is done in the courthouse.
The cost of finishing the space in the Government Center is expected to cost about $500,000 paid over the next 10 years.
According to County Administrator Steve Koszarek, the state would agree to a 10-year lease. Probation and parole previously leased space in the courthouse and relocated offsite when the county remodeled the courthouse, leaving the agency without space, he said.
Tim Sauter, who owns the building with Blair Mahan where probation and parole is currently located, said they had been told it would take an act of the Legislature to get a 10-year lease with a state agency.
Mahan said if they had known the current lease would only last five years, they would have never redeveloped the space the agency utilizes now above Superior Stove Works. The two spent a “substantial sum” to remodel the space to accommodate growth if the agency needed it.
Currently, Mahan and Sauter have 5,800 square feet available for the agency to use after other tenants vacated the building’s second floor.
The county is planning to seek design and bids to finish the entire 7,800 square feet of unfinished space, which would include about 5,000 square feet for probation and parole, 1,400 square feet for the public defenders offices and 1,400 square feet for meeting and jury selection space. They’ll also seek a breakout to determine what individual components of the project would cost, giving supervisors the option of only finishing the space for the state agencies.
The nature of the county’s negotiations with the state remains unknown to the public, but Supervisor Tom Stewart said it sounded like it was in the county’s best interest to move ahead with the project.