Pottawatomie County commissioners approve alternate bids for new admin building

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Pottawatomie County Commissioners listen to a presentation regarding elements of their new administration building. The county's new building will be constructed next to the courthouse in Shawnee.

Pottawatomie County Commissioners approved alternate bids for the upcoming construction of the county's new administration building as presented by Rand Elliott Architects and Lippert Bros Inc. Constriction during a regular meeting Monday.

Architect Rand Elliott and his colleagues led a presentation in which they explained features commissioners could add to the new building, which will be built in the parking lot South of the current Pottawatomie County Courthouse, 325 N. Broadway.

According to District 2 Commissioner Randy Thomas, these bids are extra features the county decided on after setting their initial base bid of $5,604,193. 

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Commissioners voted to accept adding an indoor corridor, which would connect the new administration building to the courthouse, as well as various site amenities for the new building, including terrazzo material in the lobby of the building, an interior finish plan, full restroom tiling, lightning protection on the roof of the building, cast stone parapet caps, metal panels on the front entrance, furniture and a bipolar ionization HVAC.

Thomas said the original budget for the new administration building was $6 million and these alternate bids raised it to $6,472,170. 

Now that these bids have been approved, Lippert Bros Inc. believes the county can break ground on the new building in roughly 30 days. 

The projected time of completion for the new building is between 12 to 14 months, depending on weather and other factors.

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District 1 Commissioner Melissa Dennis said the county has been saving up for this project for many years and the funds to pay for it are coming from use tax money, which is designated for projects such as this. 

She said there will be no tax or bond increase of any kind as the commissioners already have the funds to construct this new county building.

Rand Elliott said the building will be 20,000 square feet in two stories and will house several county departments including the County Clerk, County Assessor, the County Treasurer, security, public space on the first floor, county commissioners, IT staff and also will include a commissioners meeting room on the second floor. 

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Also in the meeting, Commissioners decided to honor the late Thomas Arnold in the building for his hard work and dedication to the county over the years. 

Arnold passed away earlier in the summer and Dennis said commissioners wanted to add an element to the building that would memorialize him.

Thomas said the commissioners are excited to finally get the ball rolling on this project after waiting years to save up funds and then postponing the project earlier this year due to supply shortages and price increases caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

"I think it's well past due," Thomas said.

Check back for updates as the News-Star will follow the construction of the building over the next 12 to 14 months.