Rent, build, purchase... or do nothing.
Those are the options Union County supervisors continued discussing Monday morning regarding where to relocate Department of Human Services (DHS).
DHS staff expressed in September they are not satisfied with their current locations in the basement of the Union County Courthouse and in the yellow, brick building north of the county’s law enforcement center.
Darren Thompson, executive officer for DHS in this area, said they’re unsatisfied because DHS currently has the opportunity to hire two more employees in Union County, but cannot because they do not have enough space at their current location.
Additionally, Thompson said DHS staff doesn’t have adequate conference/meeting room for employees and families to meet.
John Kawa, owner of Kawa Construction, presented a good-faith estimate Monday regarding how much it would cost to build an addition to their current 2,000-square-foot yellow, brick building north of the county’s law enforcement center.
Kawa said the yellow brick building is structurally sound and he’s proposing building a 40- by 50-foot addition with a full walkout basement to the north side of that building which would add a total of 4,000 more square feet of space.
“You’re looking at $375,000,” Kawa said, “but because of the unknowns it’s not out of the question that before it’s said and done the addition could cost $450,000 to a-half million.”
Kawa said the addition would have two 5- by 12-foot bathrooms, one in the top floor and another in the basement. It would have two 12- by 12-foot offices and one 14- by 20-foot meeting room. The building would have a 2-amp electrical service.
Kawa said he would also put a one and a-half inches of foam insulation on the exterior covered by concrete board siding so it would match the courthouse.
“I went with the concrete board because I wanted the two buildings to look somewhat like they were built at the same time,” Kawa said. “That was my idea. Why not have something that looks like the courthouse?”
Kawa said the concrete board has a 25-year minimum warranty.
Bob Brown, board chairman, asked Kawa if the building would have an elevator. Kawa said the building would be handicap accessible through the front door to the building and the walkout basement, but an elevator was not figured into the price.
“If you put an elevator in there, you might as well double that $375,000,” Kawa said.
Ron Riley, board member, said the addition would obstruct the current driveway entrance to the law enforcement and courthouse parking lot from Pine Street. Kawa and the board debated whether a new driveway would need to be constructed on Pine Street or whether the alley entrance off Howard Street would be suitable.
Second building option
In less detail, the board discussed a good faith estimate from Melissa Driskell of Winterstien Construction for a 6,000-square-foot steel building to be built on three lots located east of the Union County Courthouse, across the street on Pine.
The estimate total for that project was $750,000.
The cost per month to rent the former Iowa State Extension building, 105 W. Adams St., owned by Bob Berning, has been set at $2,500. However, the state will reimburse Union County for rent at the reimbursement rating of 34.1 percent or 45.5 percent. The state will also reimburse the county for utility costs and insurance.
Still, even with reimbursement, it’s been figured rent, utilities and insurance will cost the county $2,000 a month or about $24,000 per year.
In addition, total costs to remodel the former Iowa State Extension building were figured Monday and are expected to cost about $85,000.
Of that, Union County would be responsible for 63.8 percent of the total remodeling cost, Adair County would be responsible for 20.7 percent and Adams County would take on 15.5 percent.
Dennis Brown, county supervisor, and Riley said the option to purchase a building is still on the table, and Dennis Brown specifically reminded the board they still have the option to do nothing at all.
The board plans to meet with Thompson to discuss all of the above options during regular session Monday.