HANCOCK COUNTY — County officials are not exactly sure when renovation projects at Community Corrections (old jail) and the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office (former Community Corrections) will actually start.

However, after hearing a project scope update, they feel certain the work will get done sooner rather than later with project bids to be awarded as soon as August. The construction work is estimated to take about seven months, and work on both remodels will occur simultaneously.

Official plans for renovations on both county buildings are expected later this summer with bids being awarded during the August 20 Commissioner’s meeting, those associated with the projects say.

During a recent commissioner’s meeting last week, officials noted there have been many delays associated with the remodel on both those structures due to Greenfield’s FEMA rules, which affect both properties. Since the renovation projects are both in a flood zone, county officials say FEMA rules dictate they cannot spend more than 50% of the actual value of the buildings on any renovations.

It meant the commissioners didn’t want to approve any type of project until appraisals came in on both structures and a project scope was determined.

Officials from DLZ, a consulting firm in the architectural, engineering and surveying industry, gave the commissioners an update on the remodel projects during the June 4 meeting. Officials from DLZ spoke about the scope of the projects and the budgets for both projects.

Officials noted the current prosecutor’s office is worth an estimated $2.3 million. With an estimated full renovation project budget, which does include fees and staffing, costs for the remodel estimated around $1 million.

Appraisals show the current community corrections facility is worth an estimated $5.53 million with its estimated remodel project total budget currently estimated around $2.2 million.

“We’ve tried to simplify things at this point,” DLZ’s Justin Nickel said. “We’ve tried to determine what is in and what is out.”

DLZ officials said they’ll spend the next couple of weeks updating project plans and drawing to include the final scope of work. Officials with DLZ say they hope to have all the paperwork and designs done in June and July and immediately bid the projects out for work.

“The goal is bids will be due August 14, and we’ll be able to present those to you at your August 20 meeting so we can award the bids,” Nickel said.

Despite the budget caps on both projects, commissioners president Bill Spalding said they’re going to get some solid work done on both buildings.

“I think we’ve hit a point where we can actually start to do something,” Spalding said. “It may not be like we wanted it to be, but we’re still going to be able to accomplish a great deal of office renovations and have a good product at the end.”

The scope of the work at the prosecutor’s office is to provide as much office space as possible, with limited mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment improvements, plans show.

Prosecutor Brent Eaton moved his staff into their new offices in December of 2022 after mold issues were found in their old building. Since then, Eaton noted they’ve had heating and cooling issues. He also said they are in dire need of more office space due to the fact employees are “sitting on top of each other,” with some departments crammed into tiny spaces.

Prosecutor Brent Eaton says there is plenty of space for new offices for his workers in the old Community Corrections building once plumbing, heat and air conditioning issues are fixed. They’ve been in the old building for over a year and a half with no renovation work done yet. Tom Russo-Daily Reporter

“I’m grateful to our staff and the work they do every single day no matter what the conditions,” Eaton said. “The people come in and do a great job in less-than-ideal conditions.”

Eaton noted the issues inside the old community corrections building were supposed to be fixed long ago, so that’s been frustrating, but he noted his staff keeps plugging away regardless.

“Our people continue to move forward and don’t make excuses even though we’ve got people on top of each other,” he said. “We’ve been in here when it’s been hot and it stinks from the plumbing issues, but they just continue to work.”

The scope of the community corrections projects also calls for limited work in the office area and for mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment improvements, with officials plans to be updated and determined and approved before the bids go out.