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Discussions on courthouse facilities planning ongoing

Lake County’s Board of Commissioners recently held extensive discussion on planning for facilities upgrades at the courthouse following the impending departure of the Lake County Public Library.

The discussions at the county’s Tuesday, March 20, work session primarily centered on how departments may potentially utilize the additional space afforded by the departure of the library.

Commissioner Ken Kestner supported contracting with a third-party independent individual to assess building space and how it may be utilized.

Commissioner Dan Shoun noted that the department heads need to be a part of the assessment process.

Shoun later said a master plan is needed to ensure that all needs are addressed from the start.

“We just felt there needed to be a master plan…,” he said, “so we’d do it right the first time.”

A number of deferred maintenance items are also a part of this discussion, including roofing needs, a new air-handling system for the jail, window replacement and other general aesthetic improvement needs.

These needs extend to the Christmas Valley annex office, Shoun noted.

Property and Lands Mgr. Bob Pardee noted that foreseen needed services as well as what the county desires out of the building are factors for consideration.

As such, the county needs to determine a vision and strategy for design purposes, including dedicated storage space as an example.

“The county will need to invest in a plan…,” he said.  “There will be an investment right up front for that planning to know what that project may or may not be.”

Local engineer Darryl Anderson suggested that not too complex a vision should be addressed in the initial stages of assessment.

Shoun noted that a minimal amount of guidance is needed for a contracted individual to be able to competently develop a plan with the county’s needs in mind.

“I don’t want it to be an in-house assessment and plan,” he said, “because we don’t have the expertise.”

Kestner noted this initial plan is a discussion the commissioners need to have prior to bringing an action or decision forth in an open, public session.

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