By Susan Redden
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Jasper County commissioners said Friday they hope to be ready to make a decision Tuesday on a proposal to renovate a former bank building for use as a new headquarters for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department.
R.E. Smith Construction Co., of Joplin, was the apparent low bidder on the project when commissioners opened construction proposals on Friday.
The base bid by the company was $495,000, while $497,050 was bid by Zahner Hansen Construction Group, of Brentwood, Tenn., and $528,000 by G&G Construction Co., of Carthage.
The county also sought bids on two alternates that would have trimmed back the project and its costs, but commissioners after the bid opening said they would prefer to go ahead with the full scope of work.
“I’d rather do it all rather than come back later and try to do something piecemeal,” said Darieus Adams, Western District associate commissioner.
Sheriff Randee Kaiser agreed, saying doing the full project gives the county an opportunity to plan for the future.
“Now, the next step is finding the money, but with interest at less than 3 percent, even if we need to borrow, we couldn’t have a better time to do it,” said John Bartosh, presiding commissioner.
The department is to occupy the main floor and basement of the county-owned building on the northwest corner of the courthouse square. Bid specifications also call for construction of a new mezzanine floor to add more space to the project and work to enclose some of the former bank’s drive-through lanes for space to store evidence, including vehicles.
Kaiser also has said 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.
The engineer’s estimate for the work was “in the range of $500,000,” according to architect Kyle Denham, of Patterson Latimer Jones Brannon Denham Inc., of Joplin.
Bartosh noted the county, with the move, will no longer need to use leased space on County Road 180 near Duenweg. The sheriff’s department currently pays about $70,000 annually on the rented complex. The department’s administrative, patrol and detective divisions moved to the space several years ago when Sheriff Archie Dunn expanded the department and its staff after voters approved a quarter-cent law enforcement sales tax.
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.
Kaiser said he’s looking forward to having the sheriff’s headquarters back in Carthage, with the jail and county courthouse. He said the move will cut down on travel and be more convenient for officers and members of the public.
Richard Webster, county auditor, said the cost of building rent is paid by the county’s law enforcement sales tax trust fund and utilities are out of the sheriff’s operating budget. Building insurance costs come from the county’s general fund.
The Jasper County collector, recorder of deeds and public administrator currently occupy space on the second floor of the former bank building.