Committee resurrects county-city co-location idea
Portage County Space and Properties Committee members agreed last week to continue examining how the county and city might co-locate as each entity probes options for addressing space needs.
“The one thing we have to do is at least look at it,” Committee Chair Don Jankowski said. “Does anything come out of it? Who knows, but we should at least look at it.”
At the same time, each entity would look at their respective situations individually.
“If you have the momentum to move, then move,” Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza said. “Don’t wait for us.”
In December, the Space and Properties Committee recommended sending three construction options to the Finance Committee to review. The Finance Committee has not yet scheduled the item for discussion at a meeting. The committee meets again on Monday, March 14.
Space and Properties Committee took no action on the collaborative effort last week, instead telling Wiza that perhaps as the city begins moving ahead it should consider consulting with the county’s architect/planner and work with the Sheriff’s Department to see how the co-location could occur within the county’s planned building.
Committee member David Medin spoke of the possibility of constructing a second and third floor to the jail area of the proposed new county building, but logistics in changing the design would have to be examined, he said.
“I, for one, would welcome the optimum coordination for the two law enforcement departments,” he said. “That location allows flexible space on the footprint in ways that would work for the city and county to share space and co-locate departments … this timing seems to be very appropriate.”
Medin added that the Committee should continue with the options at hand, have the Finance Committee review them so it can go to the County Board for a vote.
“At that time, the city would know the approximate time table for construction on the law enforcement footprint,” he said. “If that time schedule fits with the city’s capital outlay schedule, the co-location law enforcement structure could come to fruition. If not, the county’s go-it-alone plan would be constructed.”
Options the Space and Properties Committee selected to move forward with (identified to begin in 2017) are:
– Option A costs $74.9 million. It entails $57.3 million in construction costs, would provide 270,000 square feet of new building and would not use any of the space in the County-City Building. This option also includes $7.2 million in contingency costs and $10.4 million in other costs like fees, soil testing, startup costs and furniture, fixtures and equipment.
– Option B costs $74.6 million. It consists of 242,000 square feet of new construction, at a cost of $52 million, plus $6.6 million in contingency costs and $9.5 million in other costs like fees, soil testing, start-up costs and furniture, fixtures and equipment. Option B would also call for $6.4 million in upgrades to the County-City Building so the space could be reused.
– Op tion C would be two phases, the first includes 97,000 square feet of new construction, costing $21 million, $2.7 million in contingency costs and 5.2 million in other costs. This plan would also require $3.4 million for upgrades to the County-City Building, but would delay some necessary upgrades to the building.
The second phase of the third option could begin around 2027 and includes construction for a new 145,000-square-foot jail and Sheriff’s Department and the remaining updates needed in the County-City Building.
The committee also determined that at some point after the second phase construction, an additional courtroom and jail pod would be required and all plans should provide space for that anticipation.
Requests for Proposals to identify how the debt service might shape up are due at the end of the month; Space and Properties could receive information about such financing as early as May.
Operating costs also will be considered. Initial operating costs identified for Option A include 11 additional full-time staff, a county-city lease and utilities at a total $724,048; for Option B include 12 additional staff and utilities at a total $646,239. Operating costs are not yet available for Option C because it was divided into two phases at December’s meeting.