by Sarah Squires
The County Board will take a closer look in January at a question that might cost Winona County taxpayers $51 million.
January marks at least one meeting in which the board will invite county leaders to the table to discuss re-situating county services -- including an option for a parking ramp, addition to the current county building on Third Street, and a 120-bed jail facility.
The board will consult with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council as well as department heads in January on the topic of the proposed new county campus plans. Aside from preliminary reactions to cost estimates, the board has yet to enter into more detailed discussions about what, and how much, it's willing to consider.
Although it hasn't spent much time on the options thus far, the board has expressed willingness to put them all on the table. Board Chair Dave Stoltman mentioned that, with the cost of construction rising, it might be wise to build a shell of a building for growth needs. That shell could be finished over time, as county services grow.
"You know you're going to have to deal with the jail at some point, probably sooner than later," said County Administrator Bob Reinert to the board last month. "Maybe it makes sense to do that now."
Reinert added that bond rates are good right now, and it would be nice to get some construction started in 2008.
This option would include a new 120-bed jail facility located in front of the current Law Enforcement Center, with the current building to be demolished to create surface parking. Two added stories to the current county building on Third Street, along with a five-story addition behind the building, would house all county services. The current Government Center on Main Street would be sold and county services currently leasing space at the Plaza Building would also be moved to the new addition. A four-story parking ramp would be located east of the Third Street campus.
This option would not include a new jail, and the Law Enforcement Center would stay as is. Two added stories onto the current Third Street building, along with a five-story addition behind the building, would house all other county services. The Main Street Government Center would be sold and services at the plaza would be moved to the addition. The four-story parking ramp would also be included in this plan.
This option only includes the added stories and rear addition onto the Third Street building. The Government Center on Main Street would stay as is. The addition would house the sheriffs and police departments, with dispatch, along with the services currently housed at the Plaza Building. This option also includes the four-story parking ramp.
The last option includes only the addition to the Third Street building, moving services from the Plaza space into the addition. Law Enforcement and services located at the Government Center on Main Street would stay as is. Surface parking would be located east of the Third Street building.