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Work could start soon on new Polk DSS building

Polk County Commissioners could soon begin working on a new department of social services (DSS) building with plans to obtain an architect in the next few months.
Construction bids could be returned by the end of the year. Construction would likely not begin until 2011.
The Polk County Board of Commissioners discussed the new building during a meeting on Monday while prioritizing needs for the next fiscal year budget.
A new DSS building is one of commissioners top priorities, with the board naming commissioners Ray Gasperson and Warren Watson with Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson to form a committee to work on the project. Commissioners said the first need is an architect, which could be selected in the next few months.
Commissioners also said bids for construction could be selected as early as November of this year.
Polk County has decided to construct a new DSS building on county owned property at the recreation complex in Mill Spring. County engineer Dave Odom was present Monday and said the site looks favorable for building with water and sewer capacity available at the countys sewer plant and wells.
Odom said a topographical survey of the site has been completed and the site really lays well.
He said he doesnt think more than 15 cubic yards of dirt will have to be moved for site preparation.
The county is looking into financing approximately $2 million for the building. Whitson presented estimates on a 15 year loan at 4.10 percent interest to commissioners. Debt payments would not begin until the fiscal year 2011-2012 budget, with payments in year one being $174,333.
Whitson said it takes 60 days to be approved by the N.C. Local Government Commission (LGC) for financing, but he sees no issues in obtaining financing due to the countys low debt.
The committee will report back to the full board during a meeting next Monday and commissioners said they will then plan a timeline for the project.
Commissioners have been working on getting all offices out of the Jervey Palmer building in Tryon that is aged and costly to maintain.
Commissioners recently moved the Meeting Place Senior Center and Veterans Services out of the Jervey Palmer building after purchasing the former Carolina Classical School last year to relocate those offices. The only other services in the Jervey Palmer building are DSS and mental health, which a new building could serve both.