By Susan Redden
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Jasper County Sheriff Randee Kaiser is looking to see if he can expand new space for the sheriff’s office before he and officers ever move in.
Bids will be opened May 17 on a project to renovate a former bank building for use as a new sheriff’s office headquarters. Plans call for the department to occupy the main floor and basement of the county-owned building on the northwest corner of the courthouse square.
Kaiser said the bid specifications include an alternative plan to construct a mezzanine floor to add more space to the project.
“That would allow for future growth and storage, and I think if there’s an opportunity for extra space, we ought to take it,” he said. “It’s not something we could do later without it being disruptive.”
The price of the extra space will be the determining factor on whether it is included in the project.
Kaiser said that even without the mezzanine, space in the building will be more than the department has in current rented quarters on County Road 180 near Duenweg. The building on the square was owned by the county but was being rented by the bank when former Sheriff Archie Dunn set up operations in leased space on County Road 180. The move came after county voters approved a quarter-cent law enforcement sales tax in 2005, allowing the sheriff to expand the staff, upgrade equipment and make other changes.
The county pays nearly $70,000 annually on the property, and the lease extends to the end of the year.
Kaiser said that in addition to offices and other administrative space, he wants the renovation to include a “state-of-the art” training room that can be used for meetings, and for training for his officers and others in the region, when the need arises.
“Other departments could use it, and we do a lot of training that involves other departments,” he said.
He said the design includes plans to enclose some of the area formerly used for drive-through lanes so it can be used for storing evidence, including vehicles. He said there is plenty of parking for sheriff’s employees nearby. The current location has a garage for vehicle maintenance on site. With the move, Kaiser said, maintenance of sheriff’s vehicles will be moved to a new space on the county road district’s property in east Carthage.
“We couldn’t get (vehicle) parts deliveries where we were,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot more convenient for everyone, with our offices, the jail and the courthouse all in town. Now, when a detective wants to interview someone at the jail, they have to drive to Carthage and back.”
Currently, offices for the county treasurer, county recorder and public administrator are on the top floor of the former bank building.
The architect on the renovations is Kyle Denham, of Patterson Latimer Jones Brannon Denham Inc., in Joplin.
Kaiser said he hopes the renovation project can be finished before Nov. 1.
CREWS RECENTLY COMPLETED the demolition of two vacant houses at 514 and 518 E. Fourth St. on property just east of the county jail. The county purchased the land for a future jail expansion. It the meantime, it will be used for parking of sheriff’s vehicles and equipment.