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County seeks bids on health building

Staff writer

Even though they’re not certain where the building should be nor what it should contain, county commissioners voted 3-1 Tuesday to seek an architect to design a new health department building.

Phase 1 of the project will be to help answer those questions.

“This is just the beginning — the first step,” vice chairman Dave Crofoot said, filling in for absent chairman David Mueller.

The request for architectural bids lists no specific site, but one would have to be provided before detail work in subsequent phases of the contract could begin, county clerk Tina Spencer said.

Commissioner Kent Becker asked to remove references to constructing a new building.

“What if we decide to renovate another building?” he said. “I just thought if you took the ‘new’ out it could go either direction.

“What if we approve this and we get some plans and we go, ‘oh, no.’ I just think that the word ‘new’ needs to come out. If it doesn’t work, are you going to have to do a new RFP? That’s a lot of cost.”

Fellow commissioners apparently disagreed.

Although there was talk that the request for proposals include evaluation of multiple possible sites and multiple possible configurations, commissioners ultimately decided that altering the request for proposals would increase the cost of the contract.

“If they’re going to be evaluating multiple sites, then this RFP isn’t the right way to go,” Spencer said. “The one that I drafted was based on the instructions that I was given on this one lot.”

Discussion has focused on a parcel at 1220 E. Main St. in Marion that the county purchased for $1 from Marion Advancement Campaign.

The site formerly housed the county food bank and before that a service station. Existing buildings would be demolished.

The site was selected last month as the first site to examine, but the vote was 3-2, with Becker and fellow Hillsboro-area commissioner Jonah Gehring opposed.

Commissioner Randy Dallke initially questioned Tuesday whether the request for architectural proposals meant that the site had been selected.

After being told Phase 1 of the proposal essentially was for a feasibility study for that site, with the same architect later continuing on to do whatever was desired at whatever location was selected, he relented.

“This is just to open the door,” he said. “I think it’s good to just start it like this.”

The request asks for evaluation of specifics features that might be wished for in a health department building, among them:

  • A covered entrance and covered drive-through.
  • Two examination rooms.
  • Seven to eight offices.
  • A reception area and waiting room.
  • A break room with kitchenette.
  • Two to three restrooms.
  • A lactation room.
  • A conference room.
  • Laboratory and storage space.
  • A two-car garage.

As a precursor to drafting actual plans, the architectural firm winning the bid would evaluate the needs and seek cost savings.

“Not every single position over there needs their own specific office,” Spencer said. “They can determine which offices need to be separate and which could be shared space.”

Crofoot put it more succinctly.

“We have this piece of land and we want to see whether it works,” he said.

Proposals will be due July 26 and acted upon Aug. 7. The proposal calls for the assessment phase to be completed Sept. 22, conceptual drawings to be done by Oct. 27, and detailed plans to be presented by Dec. 29.

Last modified June 22, 2023

 

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