County planning remodel

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The Routt County Board of Commissioners today plans to approve a schematic design for the remodel of the Human Services building.

County commissioners also could authorize additional work for exterior design, site work and interior design for the property.

Routt County Human Services could be moved into the county's building at 135 Sixth St. by this fall. The building was known as the old VNA building, but now is called the Human Services building.

"We are pleased with what we see here in the design," Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said. "It offers a friendly environment conducive to the clientele that Human Services works with."

Having more space will be especially helpful to Human Services, which currently is on the first floor of the courthouse annex, Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison said.

The additional work will cost about $11,600. The county already agreed to pay Thira Inc. $16,900 for the interior remodeling plans.

The additional work includes designs for the building's exterior and enhanced landscaping to provide an outdoor area for staff and clients. It also includes choosing furniture, fixtures and artwork for part of the building's interior.

The total cost of this phase of a remodel is estimated as no more than $200,000.

The remodel is all part of the bigger picture of building a new justice center, Monger said. When the courts and court-related offices are moved to another building, county offices will be shifted around the downtown campus. A larger scale remodel and renovation of the historic courthouse and courthouse annex then will be possible.

Remodeling the Human Services building also is a signal that the county will not build the new justice center on its downtown property, county commissioners have said.

County commissioners are waiting to hear whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will approve a permit to fill wetlands at their proposed location for the justice center just west of downtown. That decision is expected this week.

The decision to build the new $15.5 million, 52,000-square-foot justice center just west of downtown was formally made by county commissioners in April 2003.

When this initial phase of the remodel is finished and Human Services moves into the building, the Emergency Management Services and the Building Maintenance and Purchasing Department will move into the first floor of the courthouse annex.

They eventually will be followed by the Environmental Health Department and the Routt County Coroner's Office, which have had to lease space downtown off the county's property.

Routt County commissioners will consider approving the schematic design for the remodel as well as expanded design work at 10:45 a.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room of the Routt County Courthouse Annex.

--- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail scunningham@steamboatpilot.com

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