The cost to renovate the Springview Government Center has increased by nearly $10,000.
In a 2-1 vote, Clark County commissioners recently approved a second change order for the project that increased the cost of renovations to $696,152, up $9,152 from the original contract.
Commissioners Rick Lohnes and John Detrick voted in favor of the change order. Commissioner David Hartley was the dissenting vote.
Lohnes said the most recent change was because of an unforeseen problem with a support wall.
He said officials can’t say whether the cost will continue to rise.
“It’s hard to predict,” Lohnes said.
The cost of renovating the facility was a heated campaign issue last year when Hartley, the Democratic incumbent, objected to a plan to lease the Clark County Agricultural Services Building to a Springfield business seeking to expand.
The lease deal will lead to the relocation of about 20 employees from OSU Extension 4-H and Horticulture, and about three workers from the Clark County Soil and Water Conservation District, who worked at the Agricultural Services Building.
A divided commission voted 2-1 last year to lease the 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.
Hartley and a candidate challenging Commissioner John Detrick for a seat called the deal fiscally irresponsible and speculated that the government center would cost the county millions.
Detrick has said Hartley and his then challenger former Clark County Common Pleas Judge Doug Geyer used the issue to score political points.
Hartley opposed the Konecranes deal and has said the county should have pushed the company to purchase the agricultural building.
He said on Tuesday his position was not political posturing and that he remains opposed to the deal and spending taxpayer money to renovate the Springview Government Center, 3130 E. Main St..
“Obviously they’re going to spend three quarter of a million dollars before it’s done with. I think its going to cost around $750,000 before it’s over with. which is exactly what (County Administrator Nathan Kennedy) said in the beginning,” Hartley said.
Costs of the project could have been higher if commissioners moved gardens maintained by the OSU Extension from the agricultural building to Springview.
But Lohnes said that’s no longer being considered.
Detrick said he expected there would be changes to the Springview contract.
“Anytime you do construction there’s a lot of unknowns…This is still well within the range of what we’ve been estimating,” Detrick said.
He said Tuesday that expenditures on the current project are similar to renovations made to move workers to Springview years ago.
“It’s right in line with the other 10 departments that we put in there,” Detrick said.
The Springfield News-Sun has followed the proposed move of workers to the Springview building since first uncovering the proposal last year.