Oktibbeha still weighs on the construction of a new headquarters
STARKVILLE – Columbus architectural firm Major Design Studio presented an assessment of the county’s facilities to Oktibbeha County supervisors on Monday, which sparked discussion about a future that may involve the construction of a new administrative complex as well as improvements and renovations to the county courthouse and other buildings.
Supervisors schedule a working session to begin the planning process of deciding which needs will be met and how. The date of this meeting remains to be determined.
The MDS study cost $ 12,000 to examine county-owned facilities in terms of age, size, insurance and utility costs, usage and functionality.
This study will help the board of directors know what action to take next, whether it’s creating a new building or updating existing buildings.
The MDS report ranked the county’s facilities to replace or renovate to superior. For example, the Felix Long Building, built in 1949, received a low rating in the report, which recommends that the structure be replaced. Built in 2010, the county’s 911 emergency management / education facility received a high score indicating that the building does not need major renovations.
The estimated annual costs for existing buildings are over $ 270,000 for utilities and $ 39,143 for insurance, according to the study.
The report included recommendations on the needs of each county building. For example, he recommends that the circuit courthouse include another courtroom, a judge’s chamber, a larger jury room, and more space for the needs of the sheriff and district attorney.
The average age of the eight buildings in Oktibbeha County is 58 years with a total replacement value of $ 31 million. The study indicated that a new building could cost $ 22 million, plus demolition and additional land costs.
MDS compared the square footage of existing buildings to what would be the square footage of a potential facility to house all of the county’s services.
After consolidating and reducing office space from 88,428 square feet to 56,063 square feet, a county complex could include administrative and supervisory offices, Mississippi State Co-op extension offices, Justice and Youth Courts; and the Department of Health, Department of Social Services and County Child Protective Services.
Supervisors chairman Joe Williams said an artist rendering should be done of the administration complex to show the vision for this project and what space may be available for the offices planned for this property.
Ryan Ashford of MDS said an artist rendering could be completed within four and five weeks after consulting with supervisors and relevant stakeholders.
Council attorney Rob Roberson said another important point to discuss is how much financial commitment the county is prepared to make and whether the costs of the project will need to be split into phases.
Roberson went on to share a personal story about the value of a new costume. He recalls that after he graduated from college, his father told him he needed to buy a costume.
“At the time, I had never bought a new costume, so I went and bought a new one and spent way too much money,” Roberson said. “As I got older, I realized that although you can buy a cheaper costume, I have learned that these costumes fall apart quite quickly whereas an expensive costume lasts a little longer.”
Price and quality are factors that supervisors will need to balance when considering the scope of the project.
“We’re going to have to decide what combination we want – either we want a package and a product that is going to last 50 to 100 years, or we want to do something less than that to get us through the next 5 or 10 years,” said Roberson. “I don’t know what that answer is. I think part of the conversation that needs to take place is how much are we willing to put in. “