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La Crosse County: Firm recommends HHS building addition [La Crosse Tribune, Wis. :: ]
[February 21, 2014]

La Crosse County: Firm recommends HHS building addition [La Crosse Tribune, Wis. :: ]

(La Crosse Tribune (WI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 21--An architectural firm Thursday recommended building an addition on the La Crosse County Health and Human Services building rather than at Associated Bank to create more office space if the county administrative center is moved.

Putting a 16,650-square-foot, four-story addition on the northwest corner of the HHS building at 300 N. Fourth St. would be more cost-effective and allow key departments to remain in a central location, Chad Bloedel of River Architects told the county's Administrative Center and Downtown Campus Study Committee.

In particular, the county would avoid the estimated $600,000 expense to shift the IT Department and data center now in the HHS building, Bloedel said. Maintenance also could be in the addition between all three county sites.

County officials in January authorized negotiating with Associated Bank to buy its building at 605 State St. for $4 million, plus a 116-space parking lot across Seventh Street for $600,000, to become the new county administrative center.

While the bank's drive-through area would be enclosed and converted to offices, the approximately 50,000-square-foot building still doesn't have enough space to completely meet the county's needs.

River Architects' analysis found an addition at the HHS facility makes more sense than building onto or adding more levels at the Associated Bank site, Bloedel said.

The county's corporation counsel and child support services also would be moved across the street into now unused space in the Law Enforcement Center to further reduce space requirements at the bank.

The county faces a May deadline to finalize purchasing the Associated Bank property and selling the current administrative center at 400 N. Fourth St. to STIZO Development LLC, a partnership that includes Three Sixty Real Estate Solutions and Borton Construction, for $250,000.

STIZO then would assume the cost of removing the extensive asbestos in the facility before repurposing the building as student housing for nearby Western Technical College.

The committee did not act Thursday on River Architects' recommendation, but set its next meeting for March 6. Another committee sorting through options for Lot C south of the Law Enforcement Center, where Associated Bank wants space if it gives up its current site, meets earlier that same day.

___ (c)2014 the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, Wis.) Visit the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, Wis.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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