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County breaks ground on $10 million addition to Administration Building

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 April 2018 at 7:25 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Orleans County officials gathered at 2 p.m. on Wednesday for a ceremonial ground-breaking behind the County Administration Building, where construction will soon start on a 23,000-square-foot addition.

Pictured from left, include: Mark O’Brien, director of the Orleans County Mental Health Department; Chuck Nesbitt, county chief administrative officer; County Legislator Fred Miller; Legislator John DeFilipps; Gerald Summe, vice president at Wendel which is overseeing the construction project; Legislator Bill Eick; Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson; Paul Pettit, director of Public Health; Legislator Ken DeRoller; Jayleen Carney, a staff member for Assemblyman Steve Hawley; Madelyn Genovese, staff member for State Sen. Robert Ortt; and Edwin Moss, the county’s director of computer services.

Construction is expected to take about 15 months until the building is ready for about 50 employees from the Health Department, Board of Elections, information technology department and the Legislative office and staff. The building will be connected to the current Administration Building with the addition on the south side. There are currently about 125 people working out of the building for the Department of Social Services, Job Development, Tourism, Planning and Development, Department of Motor Vehicles, and Personnel.

The new space will include a meeting room for the Legislature with about 60 seats. The current Legislative chambers has about 30 seats and is one of the smallest municipal meeting rooms in the county.

Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson said the county has been preparing for the project for several years.

The Board of Elections and Public Health Department currently are leasing space from Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services. Comprehensive purchased the former county-owned nursing home for $7.8 million in January 2014. The county has been leasing space from Comprehensive for Elections and Public Health because those offices are part of the nursing home complex.

Moving those offices from those sites will spare the county from paying those lease payments. The money the county was paying for the lease will go towards paying the debt for the addition.

The new addition will be more modern, secure and centralized for the county, said Chuck Nesbitt, the county chief administrative officer.

Paul Pettit, director of Public Health, said he welcomes the opportunity for his staff to work in a new building.

The County Legislature on March 28 accepted five construction bids totaling $7,006,600 for the addition of the building at 14016 Route 31. Alternates for $495,900 push the total bids accepted to $7,502,500. In addition, the county will pay the Wendel firm $900,000 for construction administration, project coordination, additional design services, commissioning services and grant administration.

The County Legislature has approved a maximum bond of $10,063,881 for an addition the building on Route 31, behind the nursing home. The bond is expected to be about $6.5 million due to grants for the project. The county has already been approved for a $3,682,748 state grant towards the project and State Sen. Robert Ortt also secured a $200,000 state grant.

The larger grant includes funds to create space at the neighboring Mental Health Building for a primary doctor from Oak Orchard Health. Mental Health also has two therapists working out of Oak Orchard Health’s site on Route 31 in Albion.

Work has started on a new parking lot on the west side of the building. There will be a temporary entrance for the public on the west side while the building is under construction. The county will also install a one-way traffic light on the driveway during the peak of the building’s construction.

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