Commissioners approve design phase of MidFirst building renovations

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Allan Grub

Pottawatomie County Commissioners on Monday approved contracts between Rand Elliott Architects and Lippert Brothers for the design and renovation of the old MidFirst building on Broadway Street. 

According to District 2 Commissioner Randy Thomas, the commissioners approved starting the design phase of the project and awarded $37,500 to Rand Elliott Architects.  

In addition to the renovations of the MidFirst Building, Rand Elliott Architects and Lippert Brothers are working on the designs and construction of the new County Administration Building.  

Thomas said the total budget for the MidFirst renovations project will be $400,000 and will be paid for by funds from use tax. 

The purpose of the two-level renovations is so District Attorney Allan Grubb’s office can utilize the old MidFirst building located at 330 N. Broadway Street to temporarily house his Child Support Services staff. 

According to Grubb, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services has made all of their offices remote sites and he has employees through Child Support Services. 

“(The employees) have a contract with DHS and work at the DHS office building and they’re not allowing my employees to be at work because DHS is working from home,” Grubb said. 

Grubb said he asked the commissioners in August to allow him use of the old MidFirst building because he feels if his employees can’t return to an office, he will not renew the DA office’s contract with Child Support Enforcement. 

“The Child Support office runs on old software that’s not completely compatible with new systems and they need to be around each other whenever there’s a problem with the software or issues,” Grubb said. “It’s not a job that can be easily done from home.” 

The district attorney said he believes his employees would prefer to be back at work and he will be implementing social distancing and other safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Thomas said Grubb intends to use the front portion of the building for his employees. 

Grubb said he hopes to have his Child Support Services employees in their new office as he gains internet access, purchases furniture and finalizes other details. 

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