With a new courthouse open, an old courthouse set for renovations and a historic jailhouse up for sale, Delaware County officials have turned their attention to revamping the Delaware Area Career Center's north campus.
The flurry of activity related to facilities continued March 19 as county commissioners agreed to request applications from architecture firms interested in working on the redesign of the north campus, 1610 state Route 521. Commissioners last summer voted to purchase the 64-acre career-center site in Brown Township for $1.77 million with the intent of shifting offices for several county entities into the existing 147,000-square-foot building.
The county is expected to take possession of the property in late summer 2019, after all of the center's students have moved to an expanded south campus building off U.S. Route 23 in Liberty Township.
Jon Melvin, the county's facilities director, said selecting an architectural firm before the county takes possession of the property makes sense.
"We want to get a design professional in here, get this design work all done (and) have contracts ready so when we take possession, we'll be ready to move forward with construction," he said.
The county's facilities master plan estimates the potential cost of the project to renovate the north campus building at about $10.8 million.
Commissioner Gary Merrell said that possible price tag is higher than he anticipated and asked Melvin if the estimate is "reasonable."
Melvin said it would be premature to discuss the accuracy of the master plan's estimate at this point in the project.
"I really don't want to guess," he said.
The county will accept statements of qualifications from firms interested in working on the project until 4 p.m. April 24.
The commissioners' move to push forward with plans to renovate the north campus follows two other recent decisions related to county-owned facilities.
County commissioners March 8 voted 2-0 to approve a contract worth up to $65,000 with Columbus-based Schooley Caldwell Associates for architecture and design work on the project to revamp the historic building at 91 N. Sandusky St. to prepare it for office use. Commissioners in late February agreed to take bids for the historic jail and sheriff's residence, which sits just west of the old courthouse.
The moves follow county officials' decision to consolidate offices and sell unneeded properties after opening a new five-story courthouse building in downtown Delaware last fall.