County makes strides in building design plans
By RANDY GONZALES
Ellis County commissioners discussed two county building projects at Monday's meeting -- both that initial came in above what was budgeted.
The remodeling project at 718 Main -- future site of the county administrative building -- was given approval for the architect at Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture to re-start the design of the remodeling.
The original bids for the project came in over budget. After reductions, the estimated cost was $605,000, below the $619,000 budgeted. Ellis County Administrator Greg Sund said he was unsure if the project's estimated cost would change after the latest changes are factored in.
Commissioners also agreed to restart the design process for building a new EMS/rural fire building at 22nd Street and General Hays Road. Bids for that also come in over the $3.5 million budgeted for construction. The commission already had switched from a concrete to metal building, to help bring the cost estimate to $3.24 million.
The commission also made three more changes to the EMS/rural fire building, but not after some give-and-take discussions between commissioners and department heads. The changes were elimination of six garage doors, from 14 to eight; use a generator from the Law Enforcement Center instead of purchasing one; and relocating the transformer closer to the building.
Sund said the changes likely would drop the building's cost. The architects for both projects will provide revised cost estimates, he said.
Department heads talked about contingencies for natural disasters ranging from ice storms to a tornado, and how the EMS/rural fire building might be affected with the loss of electricity. Proper ventilation also was discussed.
"We cannot plan for every disaster that could possibly happen," Chairwoman Barbara Wasinger said. "I agree, we need to be smart about this, and I agree we need to be proactive.
"Now, we're just getting into minutiae that is counterproductive. We'll never start the building. We'll talk about it until 2020, and we'll never have a building."
Commissioners approved restarting design plans for both projects by a 3-0 vote.
"We made a step forward," Wasinger said.
In other business:
* Commissioners reappointed Dr. Lyle Noordhoek as county coroner.
* Commissioners approved a motion to apply for a grant to assist in operating costs for the county health office.
* Commissioners went into executive session with County Counselor Bill Jeter and Sund to discuss attorney-client privilege and non-elected personnel issues. No action was taken. Then in the open meeting, commissioners approved 3-0 a motion to give Sund a 3-percent cost-of-living raise given to other county employees, retroactive to Jan. 1.