Facilities to house Sarpy County’s administrative offices and employees who keep streets cleared of snow, taxes flowing into coffers and paperwork maintained in perpetuity are in need of upgrades.
County Administrator Mark Wayne said the facilities have yet to reach a crisis point. A report by Carlson, West & Povondra Architects recently considered by the County Board agrees but notes a laundry list of updates as the county’s growth continues into the next decade.
Two annex buildings near the Hall of Justice, each of which are more than 30 years old, would require extensive electrical, plumbing and mechanical work.
The east annex would then house on its northern side pre-trial and diversion programs. The south side currently houses the Veterans Services Office and Human Resources Department.
“The biggest push is the annexes and the ancillary services that deal with the courts and jail,” Wayne said. “Those are going to be the big areas that need some help immediately. Those are the areas that feel the pressure.”
The study recommended the county consider expansion to both its administrative wing and the Hall of Justice, as well as potentially demolish the two annex buildings. An alternative would include moving offices to more fitting areas.
Meanwhile, other county offices said they required additional space and repairs to window insulation.
County Clerk Deb Houghtaling said her department will eventually need more space to keep records.
“We’re going to look at some permanent storage off-site for the records,” she said. “It would have to be a building that has the same standards as our records room does.”
Records are destroyed each year in January in accordance with their retention schedule, which allows adequate space for new documents to cycle into the office.
Last year, the clerk’s office destroyed 736 file boxes as part of its routine records management. The storage room can store about 6,000 boxes, and it currently holds about 5,600.
“I think we can work some things out with records management to help that area,” Wayne said.
The Planning Department said it needs new insulation because windows allow rooms to become too warm during the summer and too cold during the winter.
The Treasurer’s Office also has insulation issues. The department showed a desire to be separate from the office handling driver’s license payments. Officials said the department would benefit from additional security cameras and a larger storage area for license plates.
Veteran Services could benefit from an additional enclosed office, the report said. Human Resources eventually needs more space for in-office testing, confidential meetings and a training room for up to 10 people, as well as more space for files and a fix to insulation problems.
“For them to take on additional people – both employees and to work with other clients – they’re going to need some space,” Wayne said.
The report was unsure whether the Assessor’s Office’s current building could accommodate an expected growth of 19 to 24 employees over 10 years.
Public Works will require an additional five to nine employees by 2023, the report said. In a survey, the department’s employees requested establishing a break room for field personnel, converting part of an engineer’s office into a lunch room, creating a meeting room to accommodate all 46 employees, improving security with a public reception counter and updating the building’s insulation.
County maintenance staff should increase by 23 to 27 employees in 10 years, the report said.
A storage unit potentially will be needed to keep vehicles, equipment and inventory items. Staff said the county should replace several boilers, roofing, utility equipment and update cooling systems for the Enhanced 911 service.
Wayne said if the county moves forward with a new study to find needs of the adult and juvenile justice systems, the government would consider working with Carlson, West & Povondra.
“Once they look at the numbers and project where we’re going to be at in the next five to 10 years, then we can put together a better idea of space needs for these programs,” he said.