Saturday May 28th, 2016 9:51PM

White County approves building renovation projects

By Rob Moore Reporter
CLEVELAND - White County is proceeding with several projects to make its government services better and more centralized.

During a called meeting Friday morning, the commission approved nearly $100,000 in expenditures to renovate/upgrade a couple of neighboring county buildings.

The commission approved $66,631.43 in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds to replace the HVAC system at the White County Health Department building, situated on Helen Highway at Hulsey Road. Located in the former Neighborhood Healthcare Building, the health department building now houses the health department, White County Emergency Medical Services, Ninth District Opportunity, and WIC.

The bid from A & A Electric was $9,767.43 more than the lower bid of $56,864.

While A & A was not the low bidder, commissioners followed County Manager Michael Melton's recommendation to approve the expenditure, citing dissatisfaction with the customer service of the county's previous service provider.

County officials said the units currently used in the building have outlived their usefulness and would cost as much to repair as it would to replace them.

"Guys, we've all been subject to comments from the community on how sorry the heating and air is there in the health department building," said Commission Chairman Travis Turner.

Turner said the EMS staff has put in its own window unit to try to help with climate control in their upstairs headquarters.

"It's time we fix it and fix it right," Turner said.

Also on Friday, commissioners approved expenditures for three renovation projects at the White County Administration Building, formerly the county detention center. Located at 1235 Helen Highway behind the senior center, the facility since July houses the White County Commissioners Office (including county manager and county clerk), business tax, finance, and human resources offices. The county coroner's office also soon will be relocated there.

Friday's meeting was held at the administration building, in a conference room currently accessible only through a secure hallway.

A $4,354 bid awarded to Simco will change that, adding double doors to provide direct access from the building's lobby into the conference room. Commissioners agreed Simco should be able to save the current carpet, thus reducing the bid from $5,554.

At the same time the double doors are being installed in the conference room, a platform and desk for the county commission will be constructed by Scroggs & Grizzel, which was awarded the work for $9,330.

The third project is the addition of a garage door on the south end of the building to serve the coroner's office. That work will be performed by Precision Metal for $11,520, and will include lights in the bay area.

Commissioners said the county would save $3,771 by awarding the bids for the three projects individually rather than to the same contractor, and doing so would give each of the local vendors an opportunity to have a part in the renovation.

Turner said he looks forward to the commission meeting in an improved venue in the near future.

Currently, the commission meets at the White County Courthouse, which now is a challenge because of court functions, and because commission staff is not housed in that building.

Melton said he is optimistic the renovation work at the administration building can be completed by the first of the year.

In an item related to the administration building renovation, commissioners voted Nov. 4 to spend $14,165.20 in SPLOST funds with Four Season Heating, Air, and Refrigeration to purchase a larger cooler for use by the coroner's office. At that meeting, commissioners were told the cooler would be capable of housing 15 bodies.
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