The Ellis County public building commission on Monday approved a contract to begin reconstruction of the third building included in a large bond issued in 2013 to pay for three projects.
Renovations at 601 Main, which houses the county’s Extension district and health services, are set to begin as soon as possible. The project bid was awarded to Paul-Wertenberger Construction in the amount of $287,500.
Approximately $265,000 remains in bond funding, and the county commission budgeted an extra $35,000 in this year’s budget toward the project, said County Administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes.
Costs for the project came in higher than originally expected, largely because of ongoing flooding concerns on the property.
“That’s in a flood plain part of town, and in particular, part of the problem with 601 Main is the parking lot slopes toward the building rather than away from the building,” Smith-Hanes said Tuesday morning. “When we have mornings like today, for example, the ice and everything just sort of pools in the back corner and makes it really treacherous for people coming in, particularly to the meeting room, but also that north door.”
Alternative options, such as moving Extension to a new location, were considered and determined not to provide substantial cost savings.
The project scope calls for contractors to redo the water drainage system underneath the parking lot north of the building, then replace the surface. While most of the renovations will address exterior issues, the reception area and a restroom will be brought into ADA compliance.
The county commission also approved two alternate options allowing for new carpet and new tile flooring in the meeting room, which has been damaged by stormwater.
The county also is in the midst of renovations to a building purchased last year on Canterbury Street. That building soon will serve as the county’s health department, and the move is expected this spring.
Extension services will remain at the 601 Main facility.
The 601 Main building was included in a three-project bond issue approved in 2013. The other two projects — renovations to the courthouse and jail, and construction of a new emergency services building — were funded by a half-cent sales tax that will sunset later this year.
Funds for the 601 Main building and health clinic were allocated from the county’s general operating budget.
The contract for health clinic renovations was awarded to Commercial Builders for $219,000 in December. Both projects are to be completed within 90 working days.