County celebrates completion of big addition to administration building

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 June 2019 at 9:56 pm

Employees will move into new space over the next month

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Orleans County officials held a ribbon-cutting and open house today for the new 23,000-square-foot addition to the County Administration Building.

The new addition will provide offices for about 50 county employees, as well as other meeting rooms and the Legislature’s chambers.

Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson cuts the ribbon for the new building. She is joined by County Legislators Bill Eick, left, and John DeFilipps. Gerald Summe, right, is executive vice president of Wendel. That firm served as construction manager for the project. Eick and DeFilipps were on the construction committee for the project, along with Chuck Nesbitt, the chief administrative officer.

The Information Technology department moved into the building about two weeks ago to get the computer system ready for the employees. The legislative staff and county administrative officer will move from the County Clerks’ Building to the new site the end of next week.

Then the Public Health Department will move from its space next to the nursing home. The Public Health Department works out of what used to be a wing for the nursing home. Many of those offices used to be rooms for nursing home residents. The setup isn’t efficient for a modern office, county officials said.

The Board of Elections also works out of a wing in the nursing home. The Board of Elections will move to the new building in early July, after the June 25 primary.

County Legislator Bill Eick, left, and Peter Houseknecht, the deputy highway superintendent, look out from the atrium in the second floor of the new building. The project included an expanded parking lot. About 60 spaces were added.

The county had a ground-breaking ceremony for the building on April 25, 2018. The Legislature approved a maximum bond of $10,063,881 for the 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. That building has a renovated office and entrance.

The Board of Elections and Public Health Department have been 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.

A new meeting room can accommodate about 60 people, twice the room as the current meeting space for the County Legislature. It will hold its first session in the new meeting room on June 26.

County officials say the new space is much more accessible to the public. This is the view from the Legislature chairman’s spot.

Chuck Nesbitt, the chief administrative officer, leads a tour through the building, which includes a scanner to walk through as an added safety feature.

Stan Dudek, the retired chief administrative officer, gives Lynne Johnson positive feedback about the new facility.

The new building is connected to the original Administration Building. There are currently about 125 people working out of the original building for the Department of Social Services, Office for the Aging, Job Development, Tourism, Planning and Development, Department of Motor Vehicles, and Personnel.

Chuck Nesbitt shows a meeting room that is part of the suite for the Public Health Department.

This space will be used by the Board of Elections when that office moves over next month.

Lynne Johnson thanked residents and the county employees for their patience during the construction project.

She also thanked the contractors, including Holdsworth Klimowski Construction of Victor, which was the general contractor for the project. Suburban Electric of Albion did the electrical work for the new building.

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