The Delaware County Board of Elections office will move to its new location in the Frank B. Willis Government Building -- formerly Hall's Furniture -- during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

The Delaware County Board of Elections office will move to its new location in the Frank B. Willis Government Building -- formerly Hall's Furniture -- during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

The building is on U.S. Route 23, north of downtown Delaware.

The elections office will be closed on Jan. 15 and 16 for the move, said Brian Mumford, deputy elections director, and will reopen on Jan. 20.

The existing board of elections space in the Rutherford B. Hayes Building on North Sandusky Street will be renovated for the probate and juvenile courts, giving them additional room, said Delaware County administrator Dave Cannon.

That work should take two to three months, he said.

The county probate court, along with the juvenile court, is housed in leased space at 88 N. Sandusky St., costing the county about $245,000 a year.

Mumford said he is "pretty excited to be moving into a bigger space designed specifically for the board of elections."

His office is already packing up, utilizing county personnel to save on moving costs.

"We still have (election) records that are double-locked and require a Democrat and Republican key to access. When we do move those on the 15th and 16th, we will have teams of Democrats and Republicans there to transport them to preserve the chain of custody," he said.

A number of records will go directly to the county records' center for storage instead of to the new offices, he said.

All of this comes in the wake of a battle between county officials over a proposed new $51-million courthouse.

In October lame-duck county commissioners Jim Ward and Glenn Evans voted to move forward with plans for the construction of a 135,000-square-foot facility, despite opposition from the county's budget commission.

The members of the budget commission -- county auditor Todd Hanks, county prosecutor Dave Yost and county treasurer Dale Wilgus -- said the county will have a projected $5.5-million budget shortfall this year and it would be foolish to commit to such an expensive project.

As auditor, Hanks blocked Evans' and Ward's plans to borrow money to initially fund the courts building by refusing to sign off on the sale of bonds for the project.

Evans subsequently joined commission chairman Kris Jordan to vote against authorizing final design and owner's representation contracts for the proposed county courts building.

The step came after Republicans Ken O'Brien and Tommy Thompson were elected in November to succeed Evans and Ward in January.

Ward and Evans in effect were voted out of office when they lost in the Republican primary in May.

Both commissioners-elect have said they won't approve construction of the facility because of the county's current economic status.

The county Republican Party will appoint a third member to the commission in January, to succeed Jordan, who was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives.

cpreston@thisweeknews.com