A study conducted by Gardner Architecture of Strawberry Point on behalf of Winneshiek County concludes that the county could consolidate its building facilities into one central County Office Facility, which would cost around $6 million.
But Dave Martin from Gardner Architecture stressed, "There's a definite need..but there isn't any reason to move immediately." Gardner says the study his company has done is a chance to get county officials to start to think about all their options.
The proposal would combine the NEICAC Regional Public Transit Department, the Winneshiek County Public Health Nursing Department, the Department of Human Services, Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, WIA and Promise Jobs all in one central facility in Decorah.
The programs currently have 24,000 square feet of space in several different buildings. The new proposal calls for a 36,000 square foot office building and 12,000 square foot NEICAC transportation building.
County supervisor Les Askelson noted, "We've got some buildings that cost us a lot to operate." Supervisor Bill Ibanez raised the possibility of using federal stimulus money to pay for the project. But County Board Chairman Dean Darling noted soberly, "We have no money."
Gardner Architecture's Brian Stark said the current facilities are costing Winneshiek County a lot of money. He said a "one stop" county office building would be convenient for the public, as well as for the county.