County to start office relocation projects

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In its first move to shuffle office locations, Routt County is expected to put out bids to remodel its building on Sixth Street.

With a long-term plan that hinges on moving the justice center west of town, the county is relocating many of its offices to allow for expansion and avoid rented office space downtown.

The first project is renovating the outside and remodeling the inside of the county's building at 135 Sixth Street. The county then will move its Human Services Department to the building.

County Commissioners will be asked to approve the building remodel and exterior renovation today. On Monday, the commissioners discussed the project.

"The completion of the justice center will change a lot of offices in the annex building and old courthouse building," Building Maintenance Director Tim Winter said. "This is the first phase of really a several-year project."

The remodel of the Sixth Street building is estimated at $221,000, which also includes design work for the courthouse annex building across the street.

Because the Human Services department is partially funded through the state, some of the county's remodel costs on the building will be eased with state money.

The county is not sure how much money will come from the state, but Winter thinks the remodel should receive at least $50,000 for the first phase of the project, which includes the design work and furnishings.

The building will not be expanded, but street work, landscaping and giving the exterior a facelift are scheduled.

The inside of the building will be reconfigured to allow for a waiting area for Human Services' clients and more security. On the back of the building facing onto Oak Street, the county plans to have an interpretative garden that will be in conjunction with Yampatika.

When the county did its space assessment study for the courthouse, officials realized there would not be enough room in the courthouse and annex buildings for all of the departments to grow in the next five to ten years. To allow for room, county officials decided not to tear down the building on Sixth Street and to move in the Human Services Department.

"I am glad to see this get going, because I think it is important to get social services in a little better place than they are now, " County Commissioner Dan Ellison said.

Winter hopes the Human Services Department can be in the renovated building by September. The Emergency Management Services and Building Main-tenance and Purchasing Dep-artment are currently housed in the Sixth Street building and will be moved to the courthouse annex building.

Eventually, County Manager Tom Sullivan said, the county would like to see the Environment Health Department and Coroner's Office, both of which are housed in rented offices downtown, be moved back into the annex building.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229 or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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