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Supes look at former county farm for space needs

After the former Dallas County Care Facility closed in early March, the Board of Supervisors are exploring options to re-purpose the existing facility during their weekly meetings.

This week the board heard from Jerry Purdy with Design Alliance, Inc.–a Waukee based architectural firm– on what possible county functions could be housed at the former county farm based on square footage.

One option presented included housing public health in the north wing, archives, and EMS facilities. The second floor of the building could house human and community services. Purdy also presented a second option which included public health, engineering, archives on the first floor and occupying the second floor with human and community services.

The options presented to house possible county functions would have a fairly high price tag at an estimated cost range of $1.8 to $3 million.

Although Purdy only presented preliminary options, the board agreed that the former care facility should be used as a place to house some county functions; however, the facility would need upgraded mechanicals moving forward.

Chair Kim Chapman added he disagreed with housing EMS at that specific location due to decreased response time.

“Where the calls originate from, it doesn’t make sense to have the Adel EMS out there,” Chapman said. Operations Administrator Connie Kinnard added she would like to see the county out of their current rental buildings; however, Chapman said he would not like to lose their vision of separating the departments.

If county functions would be housed in the building, the board would have the option of two bond referendum dates: Aug. 5 and Nov. 4.

Although there was no decision made, the board said they would continue exploring options.

Discussion regarding ongoing space needs at the Driver’s License Department was also held during the board’s regular meeting. One temporary option presented was moving the licensing department to the Board of Supervisor’s office, located at 121 N. 9th St. in Adel.

The draft that was presented included an employee station area, a testing area, and two offices. The proposed area would be remodeled and updated for a total project estimate of $25,797.

Supervisor Mark Hanson posed the question regarding a lack of parking and even if the department would move across the street parking would be limited.

“I’m looking outside and all the slots are full,” he said Tuesday. “I’mlooking at the consumer because to me it’s a temporary solution, not a long-term solution.”

Hanson added if Bauman would benefit if the department would be housed at the former Dallas County Care Facility with Bauman stating a drawback of relocating to the site would be the driving tests.

“You would have to come in 3.5 miles before you could even start the test,” Bauman said. “We also have so many turns people have to pass including a stop light, stop sign, and a four-lane highway so those are some of our issues.”

Bauman agreed relocating his department even across the street is not ideal, but rather a band-aid to the ongoing space issues.

“Right now I’m just trying to get our people into a larger area and this fits the bill right now,” he said. “It will double our waiting room size (because) we have between 80-100 people come through our office each day.”

Chair Kim Chapman said he agreed with Hanson’s remark about a lack of parking, but Bauman said individuals can still park on the side streets or in the parking lot where the department currently resides.

“Parking is not as big of an issue (to me), but rather the need for customers to be waiting in a building rather than standing outside,” Bauman said. The board made no decision on the item and said they would include Bauman’s request on the agenda next week.

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