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County's plan changes

7/30/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

Unease about Thomas More Prep-Marian High School students sharing the Hadley Center with Ellis County courtrooms has changed the county's plan for leasing temporary office space.

The Ellis County Commission will meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday and consider its other options. Ideas include moving the courts into the basement of its new property at 718 Main and leasing the former Sears store at 2508 Vine or the former NEW Call Center at 3000 NEW Way.

The change was not a surprise, said Greg Sund, Ellis County administrator.

"I'd heard the objection real early on," he said. "Dave Van Doren (Hadley Center owner) had said he'd thought that they had sufficient separation of spaces and security in order to ensure that nothing would become a problem. Obviously TMP disagrees with that, and so we're trying to be sensitive to what their needs and wants are."

Van Doren said the county would benefit by keeping the Law Enforcement Center's administrative offices in the Hadley Center and moving some operations to 718 Main. The arrangement would keep the staff in close proximity and cut rent costs.

There was some anxiety about questionable characters using the property, he said.

"That was a concern of the TMP girls' dorm," Van Doren said. "If we could eliminate the courts and the interrogation and booking from our space, then it makes it a lot more safe for them and for all of us here at Hadley."

Although LEC staff only needs 10,000 square feet, the call center is approximately 42,000 square feet. The owners will lease half or all of the property, Sund said.

The Sears location only can hold LEC staff and needs renovations, while the call center is ready now.

Renovations to the LEC are expected to start in September.

"We're pretty much up against a wall," Sund said. "We need to make a decision here pretty quickly."

TMP officials did not return requests for comment.