Monday, November 24, 2014

New building design aims to arrest problems in county offices

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 3/10/2014

If all goes as planned, construction on the new Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Attorney’s Office and Juvenile Services should begin sometime in August.

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners received a presentation Monday morning from Dan Rowe of Treanor Architects, Kansas City, Mo., showing the proposed design and layout of the former Neosho County Community College campus, 226 S. Beech St., Ottawa. The building was purchased in 2011 by Franklin County in hopes of later repurposing the structure to house the county sheriff and county attorney offices, as well as juvenile services, according to Herald archives.

If all goes as planned, construction on the new Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Attorney’s Office and Juvenile Services should begin sometime in August.

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners received a presentation Monday morning from Dan Rowe of Treanor Architects, Kansas City, Mo., showing the proposed design and layout of the former Neosho County Community College campus, 226 S. Beech St., Ottawa. The building was purchased in 2011 by Franklin County in hopes of later repurposing the structure to house the county sheriff and county attorney offices, as well as juvenile services, according to Herald archives.

Problematic issues at the current sheriff’s office are plentiful, Jeff Richards, Franklin County sheriff, said at an earlier meeting.

“We previously had four different areas where we were storing evidence and property,” he said. “[The new office] is an option that would allow us to have one single evidence room, which would be a whole lot easier for us. We have records stored in three separate locations right now. Those are not all in our current facility, but we have them on two different floors, plus records stored in an off-site facility as well.”

Public access is another problem the sheriff’s office now faces, Richards said previously. Anyone needing to get to the sheriff’s office must jump through a few hoops to get there, he added.

“Right now [the sheriff’s office] is on the third floor, so anyone who has to come to the sheriff’s office has to come up to the third floor,” he said. “This location would be much more accessible to the public as they could enter right in at ground level and would be coming into a more modern, state-of-the-art facility, as opposed to coming and going through three sets of doors and up an elevator and into a small lobby. It’s not welcoming to the public and not convenient, especially for some of the more elderly people in our community.”

The new design shows a large evidence room, as well as a separate large area for records, a room for processing evidence and an area for evidence claims.

The large evidence room also can serve as a refuge area in the event of severe weather, Rowe said during his presentation, but the area would not have a tornado grade.

The total budgeted cost for the renovations is $2,212,500, for which the county issued bonds to secure funds for payment. The construction costs came in at $1,770,000 with “soft costs” of $442,500.

“The soft costs of $442,500, those were just an estimate made at the time,” Rowe said. “Now we’re going to sit down with Lisa [Johnson, county administrator and counselor] and get those project soft costs nailed down item by item so we can know what they are. Within that project soft costs is contingency so we have some flexibility because of the early stage at which the assessment was prepared.”

Treanor Architects is trying to use as much of the building as possible in its design, Rowe said, but there are a few areas of concern.

“The roof has some leaks, most of those are in and around the rooftop units,” he said. “The other area of concern is mechanical. We may or may not have some options to remove the mechanical systems off the roof and put it down on the ground. Bill [Bassette, an engineer with Latimer, Sommer & Associates] believes it’s a much better solution for ease of maintenance and for the condition of the roof.”

Another potential problem, Rowe said, was with the windows that likely were installed in the 1980s and now are outdated.

“The windows are pretty much shot,” Rowe said. “They were new back in the ’80s or whenever this was built, and they’re leaky and were not good to start with. We’ll be removing those and building those in.”

By June, the construction documents should be completed, Rowe said, and begin receiving bids on the projects in July, with August ideally being the start of actual construction. Construction is to be finished by summer 2015, he said, and the building should be move-in ready.

To view the layout and design of the building online, go to http://www.franklincoks.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/1944?fileID=2616

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