New DSS building behind schedule

Published 8:45 am Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Polk County’s new department of social services building in Mill Spring is about a month behind schedule, according to Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson. (photo by Leah Justice)

Move-in date now planned for October
Construction on Polk County’s new department of social services (DSS) building is about a month behind schedule, according to Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson.
Whitson said there were some issues getting the roofers to complete the work, which caused a stop work order to be issued for work inside the building. The roof was almost completed as of last week.
The new schedule is for the building to be completed the first of October. Whitson said he hopes the DSS office can be moved into the new building by the end of that month.
The good news, Whitson said, is construction is on budget. If anything, change orders have made the total budget less, he said.
Commissioners were scheduled to vote on the furniture bid on Monday, Aug. 1, which was budgeted at $100,000. Whitson said the low bid came in lower than what the county budgeted.
In addition, because the building is for social services, the county will be reimbursed a percentage of the furniture costs, as well as receiving other state and federal reimbursements for the construction of the building and interest on the loan.
The new building, located off Wolverine Trail in Mill Spring, on the county’s recreation park and middle school property, will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.
Construction on the building began in January of this year.
The county approved a $1,590,755 bid from Able Constructors late last year for the construction, with the total project estimated at $1,914,052.
The county has agreed to finance the building at up to $1.85 million, with state and federal reimbursements expected over the next 45 years.
Polk County expects state and federal reimbursements of more than $95,000 for the building this fiscal year, based on an estimated 61-percent reimbursement rate. The total reimbursements over 45 years could result in the county spending about $750,000 for the building. DSS services are provided by state, federal and county tax dollars, depending on the service.
The county has worked for the past couple of years to get all offices out of the aged Jervey-Palmer building (the former St. Luke’s Hospital) on Carolina Drive in Tryon. Commissioners have said the old building is costly to maintain and not suited for county services because much of the square footage is made up of hallways.
The Meeting Place Senior Center, which was previously located in the Jervey Palmer building, moved in late 2009 into renovated space in the former Carolina Classical School off Skyuka Road near Columbus.
The county’s veteran’s services office, also formerly located in the Jervey-Palmer building, was moved to the new senior center building as well.
Mental health services are still located in the Jervey-Palmer building. Commissioners decided this year to purchase a house currently used for offices on White Drive in Columbus to house the county’s mental health services, provided by Family Preservation Services. Family Preservation has agreed to renovate the building to house mental health. Whitson said renovations to the mental health building are scheduled to begin in the next couple of weeks.

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