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Clark government center renovations move ahead

Commissioners vote along party lines again on controversial project.

Clark County commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to approve bids for the controversial Springview Government Center renovations, work that could cost between $669,000 and $864,000.

Republican commissioners John Detrick and Rick Lohnes favored the resolution, while Commissioner David Hartley, a Democrat, voted no for the second straight time as part of the bidding process.

County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said the contract could be awarded in the next two weeks after bids are reviewed by the architect and staff members.

“We have to make sure they’re a solid firm and that they’ll get the job done,” Kennedy said.

Of the eight bids, one was under the engineer’s estimate of $693,000. The highest bid was $864,000, while the rest of the bids came in between $712,000 and $798,000.

Once the contract is awarded, renovations can begin immediately, Kennedy said. The county hoped to have renovations completed and offices moved by Jan. 1 at the facility at 3130 E. Main St., but the delays in the process will likely push it back to late January or early February, Kennedy said.

The project was delayed last month after bids, which ranged from $679,000 to $873,000, came back incorrect or over budget.

Detrick was pleased to see a number of lower bids this time around.

“This project will actually save the county money, instead of costing us,” Detrick said.

“It’s always a matter of opinion,” Hartley said.

The renovation of Springview became a campaign issue last fall after Hartley objected to the plan to lease the Clark County Agricultural Services Building to nearby Konecranes, which is opening a training center at the location that could pump $4 million into the economy annually. The company is expected to add up to 40 jobs.

Commissioners voted 2-1 last year to lease the building to Konecranes, prompting relocation of OSU Extension and Soil and Water Conservation District employees. Detrick and Lohnes voted for the lease deal, while Hartley voted against the plan.

The Springview project includes selective demolition and renovation of approximately 9,1000-square-feet of the unoccupied lower floor level of the existing building. The project also includes installation of new finishes, new plumbing, fire protection, mechanical systems and electrical systems. The renovated area is to be used for offices and storage areas and will also include a multi-purpose seating area with a kitchen.

Earlier this year, commissioners received a $400,000 government innovation loan from the Ohio Department of Development to assist with renovations.

The future of the Gateway Gardens, maintained by the Master Gardeners through the extension office, is still uncertain. Lohnes said a meeting between the county, the Master Gardeners and the OSU extension office to discuss the issue will take place this week.

The next county commission meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Springview, Room 151. Commissioners are moving meetings to Wednesdays and including one night meeting per month.

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