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Study says constructing new county offices could cost $38M

ELIZABETH HEFFNER
Staff Writer

More information was recently released from the county regarding a 2009 study to construct a new facility for county offices.
In the study conducted by Stewart, Cooper and Newell Architects, the anticipated costs for the construction of a new county facility on a new site was estimated between $34 million to nearly $38 million.
Lincoln County’s Board of Commissioners, along with the County Manger’s office, has received significant backlash since voting in June to move forward with a $17 million project that would move county offices to the site of a former hospital, located on Gamble Drive in Lincolnton.
The Times-News previously reported on the concerns discussed during the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Board of Director’s special called meeting earlier this month, as well as the formation of the Citizens for Smart Spending group, which is opposed to the office move. During a July meeting, the Chamber’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to take a stance in requesting that the county commissioners take one final look into the cost differences between constructing a new downtown facility and renovating the old hospital facility before moving forward with renovations. At this time, the Board of Directors and the City of Lincolnton are not opposing the county’s decision to relocate.
Jackson added that because the figures are from 2009, costs could be even higher than estimated to purchase a new site and construct a new facility. The study estimated that new construction would cost between $180-$200 per square foot, and that the Emergency Management Shed Storage would cost between $45-$55 per square foot.
In the report, the architects stated that one of the disadvantages of constructing new facilities on a new site is that it would require a greater initial cost than renovating the old hospital. The study said that because of the 30 acres of land needed for the facility, it would most likely not be located as close to the city’s center as the current hospital complex.
However, the study also found several potential advantages to new facility, some of which have not been commented on during recent discussions of the proposal.
“A new site would allow multiple buildings and separate the traffic of the Health Department from the business traffic of the County offices,” the study states. “The Health Department could be located on (a) site independent from the County business complex if so desired.”
The report said that a new site and new facilities would allow easier configuration for a drive-thru payment center, and that a new county complex could be configured to adequately allow for future expansion for needs beyond the year 2030.

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