The cost of renovating the Springview Government Center has ballooned to nearly $900,000.
Clark County commissioners voted 2-1 Wednesday to increase the contract awarded to Cincinnati-based Empire Building Co. from nearly $700,000 to about $800,000.
That contract change is in addition to about $60,000 commissioners used for architecture fees and other costs associated with renovating the facility at 3130 E. Main St.
County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said renovation costs have exceeded the original estimates largely due to upgrades needed for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
“We knew that the HVAC unit would have a huge impact on this project. We just didn’t know how much,” Kennedy said.
Upgrades to the HVAC system are expected to cost more than $98,000, he said.
“It’s not a whole new system. It’s an HVAC unit with controls for the lower level floor,” Kennedy said.
The county will pay for the project using money set aside for capital improvements in the general fund, Kennedy said.
Empire Building Co. was awarded a $687,000 contract by commissioners in October to renovate the government center. Officials have revised the contract multiple times due to upgrades and unforeseen costs with a support wall.
The project is expected to be completed in April.
County Commissioners John Detrick and Rick Lohnes, both Republicans, voted in favor of the change order on Wednesday. Commissioner David Hartley, a Democrat, was the dissenting vote.
The three-member board has been at odds over renovating the government center since it became a campaign issue in 2012 when Hartley objected to a plan to lease the Clark County Agricultural Services Building to a Springfield business that wanted to expand.
A divided commission voted 2-1 in 2012 to lease the agricultural building to Konecranes Region America after the company announced plans to add at least 25 jobs and pump about $4 million into the local economy annually.
The lease deal will lead to the relocation of about 20 employees from OSU Extension 4-H and Horticulture from the agricultural building to the government center this spring. Other workers have already relocated to the government center.
Lohnes said previously that he had hoped estimates to renovate the government center would have hovered around $500,000, while Hartley told the board that renovations would cost at least $1 million.
Hartley said on Wednesday that he remains against the project.
“I’m voting against it. I don’t think it’s a good use of taxpayer money,” Hartley said.
After learning of Hartley’s comments, Detrick noted that Hartley voted in favor of purchasing the government center years ago.
He also said the cost of renovating the facility are part of doing business.
“There’s always going to be surprises when you get an old building,” Detrick said.
Lohnes said he wished the county hired a local company to renovate the government center.
He also said the money the county receives from leasing the agricultural building and rent the county gets from offices that use the government center will help commissioners recoup renovation costs.
Lohnes said the agricultural building was recently appraised at about $900,000 and officials continue to look for a buyer.
Staying with the Story
Reporter Tiffany Latta has covered the costs and controversies around the renovations at the Springview Government Center for nearly two years.