$6.5 million county building ready to open

Warren County expansion, renovation plan moves ahead.

“This is the first piece of the puzzle,” said Mike Shadoan, the county architect and building services manager.

“We are out of space everywhere. We have people sitting in corridors. Files in corridors. It’s an untenable situation,” Shadoan said last week while conducting a tour of the three-story structure adjoining the existing common pleas court building.

Once prosecutor’s office staff has moved from the common pleas building, in December or January, Shadoan and his staff will begin renovating and expanding the common pleas building for use by the county court, a project estimated to cost $1.5 million, not including $800,000 paid for a new digital records system.

Next, Shadoan and company plan to huddle with Juvenile Court Judge Joe Kirby and staff about renovating and expanding the juvenile court center, north east of the common pleas court.

Meanwhile, data processing will be moved within the administrative building, off East Street, and the sheriff’s office expanded into the former county court area within the building.

Finally, county officials are expected to plan expansion of the jail housed in the same building as the sheriff’s office. No cost estimates were available for the jail or juvenile projects.

“We’re trying to create efficiencies,” Shadoan said.

Staffs previously spread in buildings around Lebanon will be brought together. The public will have one place — designed using the latest technologies and designs — to go for county needs.

For example, the board of elections will be moved into the first floor, served by a 59-space parking lot. Early voting will be conducted in a dedicated area, rather than the county commissioners’ conference room.

“We are going to be all under one roof,” election board Director Brian Sleeth said. “It will help the elderly residents.”

The transition is to begin in September with court services. Emergency services is to move into new quarters at the end of October, election officials after the gubernatorial election in November. Prosecutors plan to make the move after two capital murder trials scheduled this fall.

Simplifying the multi-year building plan is the fact the county will pay for the new building with cash and is expected to dip into reserves for all the projects.

“It makes my job easier. We don’t have to worry about how we’re going to pay for this,” Shadoan said.