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County to look at five space proposals

Hubbard County commissioners will interview five architectural design firms later this month to get the ball rolling on a plan to move the Social Services Department above the county jail.

In all, 12 firms submitted proposals for the move, which is estimated to cost at least $1 million. The county has set aside building funds for the eventual remodel and move. In a special work session Jan. 11, commissioners and department heads sifted through the proposals.

It is part of an effort to retool the crowded space in the county's office building and use the second floor of the adjacent Law Enforcement Building, which was initially envisioned to hold jail expansion.

That never occurred. Crime dropped, the jail that opened in May 2006 never held as many inmates as proposed, and the second floor of the building sat unused.

Social Services personnel occupy scattered offices throughout the second and third floors of the county office building. Director Darryl Bessler believes the department could function more effectively in one office space.

The board commissioned a space study plan three years ago for $16,000, with an initial plan to move court services above the jail. That plan proved too costly and the plan sat idle for two years.

The Minneapolis architectural firm that completed the study, Klein McCarthy & Co., will be interviewed along with four other firms.

The chief architect that drafted the space plan left Klein McCarthy for another firm called BKV Group. It, too, will be interviewed along with Vetter Johnson Architects of Minneapolis, Miller Architects & Builders, Inc., of St. Cloud, and YHR Partners, LTD., of Moorhead.

The interviews will be conducted Jan. 30-31.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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