County to Move Child Support, Human Resources Offices
Left, Portage Co. Space & Properties committee members discuss the specifics of moving various county agencies to better- suited office spaces. (City-Times photo)
By Brandi Makuski
Some county agencies are preparing to move in early spring.
Final details have sprung up regarding the relocation of Portage County Child Support, UW- Extension and other county offices to help solve the county’s ongoing space problem.
“These moves are in keeping with our campus concept for county offices and we’ll continue tweaking until we have maximum efficiency outcomes,” said County Executive Patty Dreier. “This is only a starting point, however.”
Moving the offices will cost just over $200k, according to documents released by the Portage Co. Space & Properties Committee, with $86k for new furniture, $20k for new security glass and $40k for the actual moving costs. New door access controls will cost $9k, and additional costs are related to temporary storage.
Portage Co. Facilities Director Todd Neuenfeldt explained department heads have already been notified of the moves, and each will be involved with planning their respective spaces- which needs to happen soon, he said.
“We’re looking at moving the child support office over to Ruth Gilfry and the UW- Extension in the old child support offices beginning on March 11,” Neuenfeldt said.
Child Support Director Cindy Mews said her agency is in dire need of additional space. The agency which will lose its administrative assistant in the move, but will gain one additional support worker to help alleviate the heavy child support caseload. Secretarial duties will be handed over to the existing staff at Ruth Gilfry, she said, who will handle incoming calls and clients.
New furniture will be purchased or built for the county’s legal office, UW- Extension and human resources to fill additional space they will be getting, but the child support agency will likely have to reuse what they already have.
Mews was surprised no money had been allocated for new cubicles for her staff. “Those cubicles we have now, those work areas are very small,” she said, adding the move won’t give her workers the space they need.
Neuenfeldt said the relocations weren’t meant as a permanent fix to the county’s space issues.
“But this does solve some of the problems we have today,” he said. “Should the city move out of the city-county building, as we’ve been hearing, we can look at additional relocation and more permanent space needs, but if that does happen, it won’t for the better part of a year.”
County Board Supervisor Tom Mallison said he sympathized with the space issues child support faced, calling the agency “the catalyst” for the multi- agency relocations.
“It’s a huge process to make everything fit, but we’re all going to work together to make sure everyone gets at least some of the extra space they need,” Mallison added.
Corporation Counsel, Healthy Beginnings and Portage Co. Human Resources will also be moving to the second floor of the County Annex building in May.