County preparing for move to Lewis Drug

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Swift County offices based in the courthouse will be moving to the Lewis Drug building on Atlantic Avenue downtown Benson the week of June 26-30. The move takes place ahead of a $4.5 million renovation of the courthouse that could last into early 2018.

The move will include 30 staff people working in the Swift County Land Records, Auditor, Assessor, Administrator, Emergency Management, Treasurer, Veteran Services, Extension, Housing & Redevelopment Authority, Information Technology, and Rural Development Authority’s (RDA) offices.

Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Dave Mennis and court staff will be moving to space in the basement of the Swift County Law Enforcement Center.

6W Community Corrections, which is in the basement of the Swift County Law Enforcement Center, will also be affected with its office space to be remodeled. It currently plans on moving into the Benson Family Eye building’s south office space. It has been vacant since Bluestem Dental moved into its new building.

Swift County’s Board of Commissioners will be moving its meeting temporarily to the Benson City Council chambers.

The moves entail records, equipment and some office furniture.

Northland Business, the moving company that will handle the move, met with county staff last week. “We went to every room in the courthouse and they assessed everything that will be moved over to swing space,” Administrator Kelsey Baker told commissioners at their April 18 meeting.

While the move is underway, the county may consider closing its offices for half the day, Baker said.

Moving staff out is necessary because Swift County is proceeding with a $2.12 million project for a comprehensive replacement and overhaul of the courthouse heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. No major renovations of the county’s HVAC system have taken place since the 1970s. The 1970s system is not only inefficient, but is becoming increasingly unreliable.

Another major part of the project is improvement of court security and renovation of the second floor of the courthouse where the court chambers, judge chambers, jury meeting room, and staff offices are located. In all, the county expects to spend $1.2 million for improving court security and court access issues. Part of the court security involved installing a second elevator at a cost of $300,000 so that one elevator is for public use and the other can be dedicated to law enforcement and court security.

The courthouse project includes $675,000 to address a number of deferred maintenance issues including plumbing fixes, brick tuck pointing, electrical system upgrades, leaking roofs, and inefficient windows. The county also plans to address Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues in the courtrooms.

Another $400,000 in budgeted to improved office space in the building....


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