The Redwood County Board of Commissioners continues to weigh its options before making a final decision regarding its proposed courthouse security project.

After holding a work session with John McNamara of Wold Architects and courthouse employees recently, the board held a discussion with McNamara during its Sept. 4 meeting to talk about other options to consider.

“A number of things came up during the work session,” said McNamara, adding those suggestions were taken into consideration in the recent plans. 

The first option was to construct a facility that would include 23,700 gross square feet allowing more of the programs currently in the courthouse to remain part of that project.

“That option would include a two-story building that would fit in the current courthouse square,” McNamara said, adding that plan would allow the existing courthouse to be utilized while the new building is being erected.

McNamara said the cost of that plan would be in the $9.5 million range based on a plan to do the project in 2019 and 2020.

McNamara also presented an idea based on the work session that would separate out the courthouse from the other programs in a different building on the same location.

The two buildings would include 17,000 square feet for the courthouse, with 8,700 square feet for a second building to house other departments.

“With two buildings you are adding square footage” said McNamara, adding some of the square footage costs could be reduced in the second building because they would not be in the same structure as the courthouse.

The cost for two buildings would be in the $9.9 million range.

A second proposal using two buildings was also presented that would use an existing building adjacent to the courthouse. The former human services building could meet the needs of those departments, said McNamara, adding the county would have to purchase that building and would then be looking at about $1.3 million in renovation.

Following the discussion with McNamara, the board briefly discussed the new options.

Jim Salfer, county commissioner, said he preferred the option having all of the departments in one building.

Bob VanHee, county commissioner, added he sees value in the option of buying back the old human services building, adding it not only provides enough space for the departments but also includes added storage space.

He added while it may be a hard pill to swallow it is an option worth further discussion.

In other action during its meeting, the Redwood County board:

• Accepted the bid for the CSAH 101/DeKalb Street project in the amount of $2,741,852.68 from M&R Paving. Keith Berndt, county engineer, said the bid was about 12 percent over the engineer’s estimate for the project.

With federal funds being used, the bid needed to be awarded in 2018, although the work on the project will not start until 2019. Lon Walling, county commissioner voted against approval, as he still feels the best option for the intersection at DeKalb and Cook streets is a roundabout.

• Approved a contract with Widseth, Smith and Nolting for design work on the bridge on CSAH 5 north of Walnut Grove that was damaged in the July flooding.

Berndt said discussions with both state and federal officials indicated they also felt the best option was to replace that bridge. However there is some discussion about conducting a water retention project in that area that might alter the plans.

• Held a discussion with representatives from the City of Walnut Grove regarding the possible demolition of a grain elevator in the city.

Cost for the demolition would be in the $70,000 range with more than half of that cost associated with asbestos mitigation. The county board expressed interest in helping with the project but did not commit anything specific until it receives further information.

• Approved a request to upgrade the county’s phone system at a cost of $57,962.