County moves forward with plans for new Secondary Roads Facility


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After more than three months of mulling its future, Johnson County has come to a decision regarding its Secondary Roads Facility.

The current building, 4810 Melrose Ave., which is more than 40 years old, witnessed heavy damage in a March 25 fire. It will be rebuilt from the ground up.

During a Tuesday morning meeting at the Johnson County Administration Building, 913 S. Dubuque St., the Johnson County Board of Supervisors approved a $203,000 contract with the Cedar Rapids-based Ament Design engineering and architectural firm for the design and site plan for a new 38,125-square-foot building.

Supervisor Chairwoman Janelle Rettig said that ultimately, the decision came down to feasibility and projected growth and use projections set by the county.

She said the current building took on damage to the point that restoring it would no longer make financial sense.

“We decided to just built it right this time around,” she said, noting the new structure will meet the county’s needs for the next decade. “Why would you waste $1 million on a [current] building that’s already inadequate?”

Despite unknown budget figures, Rettig said, the new facility is now projected to stay within the $3 million ballpark.

Although the county has three LEED-certified structures, she said the supervisors will most likely not pursue certification, citing a costly approval process.

Rettig said a portion of the current building could be salvaged and used as an addition to the new one. She said the new facility will allow the county to bring all fleet operations under one centralized roof.

According to recent project outlines by Ament Design, the new building will feature two parts: a 28,000-square-foot prefabricated metal building constructed on top of a concrete foundation with service stalls, overhead doors, metal roofing and walls, and a 10,125-square-foot building used for office and lab space built with conventional masonry or, possibly, insulated steeled walls.

Current descriptions call for bidding to take place as early as mid-October.

Just last month, the county spent $500,000 for new truck purchases needed to replace fire-damaged fleet vehicles.

To date, the county has three plow trucks on back order and recently, five trucks were sent to Altoona for maintenance. The new vehicles are to be fitted with plows as well as boxes and hydraulics. Plans remain in place to purchase a new sign vehicle as well.

A second roads facility that is pursuing the implementation of wind energy is being constructed near Shueyville.

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