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Shoop- Annex enough space for now

January 04, 2001

Shoop- Annex enough space for now



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


The Washington County government can meet the County Commissioners' demand to move three departments into a newly purchased $1.1 million annex building, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said Wednesday.

The amount of the community's growth and a corresponding demand on the Engineering, Planning, Permits and Inspection departments will determine how quickly the annex will run out of space, Shoop said.

All three departments bring in a lot of "citizens traffic," he said.

Two weeks after being told the annex building didn't have the desired amount of space to house the three departments for which it had been purchased, the County Commissioners voted Tuesday to move the departments there anyway.

Shoop has said the building has enough space to meet the needs of the three departments for from 3 to 5 years, but not for 10 years as he and Public Works Director Gary Rohrer would prefer.

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Shoop said Wednesday that if the departments' need for space doesn't increase significantly the offices might be adequate for more than the projected 3 to 5 years, Shoop said.

If the population growth rate is more than the anticipated 1 percent or less per year, the county will need to seek a solution to the space issue in 3 to 5 years, he said.

In that case, plans for the building would need to be changed to accommodate all three departments.

Likely changes include the elimination of a planned multi-purpose training room that would have held 40 people for meetings, Shoop said.

The County Commissioners voted in March to pay about $1.1 million for the building at 80 W. Baltimore St. to serve as an annex.

Before the vote, the commissioners were told the 12,500-square-foot building had enough space to house the county Engineering, Planning and Permits and Inspection departments, which now operate out of the third floor of the County Administration Building.

At a Dec. 19 meeting, Rohrer and Shoop, who had recommended buying the Baltimore Street building, suggested moving only the Planning and Permits Departments there.

At the same time, they suggested moving Engineering Department employees and Rohrer's three-person Public Works office into the 11,300-square-foot office building used by the Water and Sewer Department near Williamsport.

The vote on Commissioner William J. Wivell's motion to move Planning, Permits and Inspections and Engineering into the annex was 4-1 with Commissioner Bert Iseminger opposed.

Wivell said Wednesday the commissioners' vote shows they wanted to stick to the original idea. He said he remains convinced the county did not need to buy the building.

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