Yellow Medicine County expects to complete its remodel of the former Fagen Engineering and YMC Bank building as a one-stop-shop for the delivery of county services in November, yet YMC still faces a conundrum on how it is to deal with other building needs that revolve around the aging original courthouse and additional space and facility needs of the county court, attorney’s office and county service providers.
Following Tuesday’s YMC Board meeting, commissioners toured the courthouse and heard from the likes of District 8 Judge DuWayne Knutsen, YMC County Attorney Keith Helgeson and Countryside Public Health Director Liz Auch speak to the problems being experienced in the aging facility.
Space constraints creating security concerns for the courts, failing piping in the Public Health Offices and a “broom-closet” sized office occupied by the assistant county attorney provided but a taste of the concerns.
Over the past nine months a building committee comprised of county commissioners, the administrator and department representatives have been working with Wold Architects of St. Peter to brainstorm and develop options to address needs. During the course of Tuesday’s discussions, Wold representatives, Joel Dunning and John McNamara, presented five different options that ranged from a $668,000 band-aid to an all encompassing fix in excess of $10 million.
Altogether architects indicated a need to increase space by 17,024 square feet, from 29,872 to 46,896 square feet, to adequately provide for space requests, meet security and technology needs, and make it possible to cluster related services.
Wold’s recommendation included the demolition of both the original 1889 courthouse and 1970s addition and replacing it with a new structure that would connect with the decade-old building housing the sheriff’s office, jail, and Granite Falls Police Department.
Though $10 million would alleviate all indicated needs, an estimated $8.8 million option would address the majority of the presented needs.
It was noted that the county is presently in strong financial shape and that the construction market is still very favorable for capital expenditure projects.
Plenty of discussion still lies ahead.