Mifflin Township is looking forward to putting its fire-department administration under one roof by buying the operations center of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 101 S. Stygler Road in Gahanna, for $5 million.

Nancy White, the township's administrator, said Mifflin originally had planned to build a 25,000-square-foot facility at Carpenter and Hamilton roads for $9 million.

Instead, the township will purchase the CML operations center that is about 55,000 square feet.

"We will be 25,000-plus (square feet) with less money," White said. "That's why we decided to move in that direction. It's more fiscally responsible."

The CML board of trustees has authorized moving forward with a plan to sell its operations center to Mifflin Township, according to an April 30 news release from the library system.

The operations center was constructed in 2002 to house the library system's transportation, collection, senior-services, school-delivery, property-management and IT departments, the release said.

Recent organizational changes have resulted in the facility becoming under-utilized, particularly on the second floor, the release said.

As the organization has evolved to react to changing times, cloud technology and expanding customer needs, the library system no longer needs the second-floor space that housed the IT server room and staff offices.

The library plans to sell the building to Mifflin Township while leasing most of the building's first floor to continue operation of its transportation, collection, senior services and school-delivery departments.

The library system's IT and property-management departments would move to the main library, joining other administrative departments, the release said.

White said on May 1 the township has signed the purchase agreement, which includes a 180-day inspection agreement, so the building can be checked to see if it's sound and if any renovation is necessary.

"We will try to move forward as quickly as we can," she said. "We're hoping to close by the end of the year. That's a go-to date for us."

She said part of the purchase agreement is a 10-year lease with CML for the first floor.

"Originally, we thought five years, but they wanted to stick to 10 years," White said. "They're required to give 24 months notice if they intend to vacate."

White said the terms of the lease haven't been determined.

She said 35 township employees, including most of the fire administration and possibly township administration, would move into the building.

"Our fire administration is one building; the fire marshal and his inspectors are in another and the community CPR and community paramedics are in another building," White said.

She said the township wants them all together.

"We're staying on the west side of Gahanna," White said. "We're a little more central as it relates to Gahanna and the unincorporated area of Mifflin."

Library CEO Patrick Losinski said in a news release the sale of the building is a tremendous example of two public entities working together to leverage tax dollars to maximize operational savings.

"Not only is this a win-win for both organizations, but (also) for taxpayers as well," he said.

"We are very pleased to be working with Columbus Metropolitan Library," said Lynn Stewart, chairwoman of the Mifflin Township trustees, in the release. "We believe it's a win for both organizations and extends our collaborative efforts with other governmental entities to reduce costs and improve services to our residents."

White said the township has been looking at the whole project for quite some time.

"We felt this was the best way and most economical for the township," she said.

White said the township has a plan to finance the purchase.

"We can get 30-year financing," she said. "The money will be designated from the fire and general funds. Those people will inhabit the building, which is what we would have done with the Carpenter Road project."

Mifflin Township serves about 36,800 residents in the city of Gahanna and 4,000 residents within the unincorporated township.

The fire division operates four fire stations and a 911 dispatching center.

Mifflin Township also has a police department serving the unincorporated portion of the township and a service department that operates two cemeteries and addresses other township maintenance issues.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla