Orleans may relocate offices to new addition at County Administration Building

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The County Administration Building on Route 31, behind The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center, could have an addition to make room for relocated county offices.

ALBION – Orleans County legislators are expected to vote this afternoon to hire a firm to look at putting on an addition to the County Administration Building.

The county may shift several offices to the addition, including the Board of Elections and Public Health Department, which is 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.

Public Health leases space next to the former Orleans County Nursing Home on Route 31 in Albion.

The county could also shift information technology (currently in Treasurer’s Office), the legislative chambers (in County Clerk’s Building), the county’s administrative office (also in Clerk’s Building) and create large multi-use rooms to accommodate training for large groups, conference rooms and offices.

A resolution at today’s 4:30 p.m. meeting calls for paying the Wendel firm $30,000 for a feasibility study for an addition to the County Administration Building.

David Callard, the Legislature chairman, said the feasibility study will look at many options with a goal for improved efficiency in county operations.

He said moving Elections and Public Health from leased space will free up money that could go towards the addition, perhaps making the project cost neutral to county taxpayers.

Board of Elections uses part of a wing in the former county-owned nursing home.

Callard said he and county offices have looked at existing buildings, including sites in Albion’s historic downtown, but those sites wouldn’t improve efficiency of the county government operations by being “in remote locations.”

Moving out county staff from space owned by Comprehensive could allow that company to add services, Callard said, suggesting assisted adult care.

If the Legislature and its staff also move to a new addition at the Administration Building that would free up space for the Real Property Tax Services Department to move from the building’s basement to upstairs, Callard said.

If the Legislature leaves the Clerk’s Building, an iconic historic structure next to the courthouse, Callard said the community can be assured the building will remain well cared for by the county.

“We aren’t letting that building go, ever,” he said.

He said nothing is set with the addition and which offices might go there.

“There’s all sorts of variables,” he said. “We’re just exploring the possibility of consolidation.”