County awards Springview contract

Renovations at the Springview Government Center will begin next week after the county awarded a $687,000 contract on Wednesday.

The Clark County commissioners voted 2-0 to award the contract to Cincinnati-based Empire Building Co. The renovations will begin Monday.

The Springview Government Center, 3130 E. Main St., was purchased from the state for $2 in 2006 and the county already has spent $7.1 million to remodel the facility. That total will jump to $7.8 million with the latest renovations, which are expected to be completed in late January or early February.

As part of the renovations, the Ohio State University Extension office will relocate from the Clark County Agricultural Services building, 4400 Gateway Blvd.

Springview currently houses nine offices, including the sheriff’s office’s east substation, the utilities and community development departments, the board of elections, the coroner’s office, the emergency management agency, the transportation coordinating committee, the soil and water conservation district and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

County Commissioners Rick Lohnes and John Detrick voted to approve the contract. Commissioner David Hartley is out of town for training and didn’t attend Wednesday’s meeting.

The second phase of Springview renovations became a campaign topic last fall after Hartley objected to the plan to lease the agricultural services building to nearby Konecranes. The company plans to open a training center and hire 40 jobs at the location, which county officials have estimated will pump $4 million into the economy annually.

Commissioners voted 2-1 last year to lease the building to Konecranes. Detrick and Lohnes voted for the lease deal, while Hartley voted to reject the plan.

The project has been delayed after going through the bidding process twice. In August, the initial bids came back over budget or weren’t properly completed, pushing the project back one month.

County staff initially estimated the project could cost about $700,000. Last year, Detrick and Lohnes said they felt the renovations would cost less, while Hartley said he believed the renovations would cost more.

“It was very close,” Clark County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said.

Lohnes said he was surprised the project cost as much as it did, and how long it took for the project to begin.

Clark County received a $400,000, zero-interest loan and a $47,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development to assist with renovations. The grant and payments from lease deals — including Konecranes — will pay for the cost of the renovations.

Lohnes said Konecranes might be interested in purchasing the agriculture building in the future.

“We’re still in the black,” Lohnes said, “and if we sell the (agriculture building), that’s even better.”

Hartley couldn’t be reached by phone Thursday.

According to the bid proposal, about 9,100 square feet of the unoccupied lower level of the existing building will be renovated. The work includes installation of new finishes, new plumbing, fire protection, mechanical systems and electrical systems. The renovated area will be used for offices, storage areas and a multi-purpose seating area with a kitchen.

“I just want to get the project done and out the door,” Kennedy said. “We’ve got other projects getting lined up that we have to get done.”

Next year, the county will begin the process of making repairs to both the A.B. Graham Building and the Clark County Common Pleas Courthouse. Those buildings have been maintained well over the years, Kennedy said, but not in a comprehensive manner.

“This is to put those buildings in really good shape so they don’t have to be dealt with for 20 to 30 years,” Kennedy said.

The renovations are expected to cost between $2 million and $4 million. That project includes repairs to boilers, HVAC, electrical systems and panels, fire suppression systems and windows.

“It’s going to be expensive,” Kennedy said, “but it’s important we maintain those buildings because they house some of the very important functions of this county. If we don’t maintain those buildings and those functions can’t operate, it would affect schools, townships, villages, the two cities. It’s going to affect everybody. It has to be done.”

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