Elbert County to Develop Strategic Facility Plan

Elbert County to Develop Strategic Facility Plan
Safety and cost-savings are central to the new long-term plan

It is said, “To build a beautiful cathedral you must begin with a solid foundation.” To have an effective Strategic Facility Plan, you must have an understanding of current conditions and a definitive implementation plan as a guide to the future.

The County Commissioners have polled each of the elected officials within the county and the consensus-prioritized issue is for the completion of a detailed study/evaluation of county facilities as soon as possible. Many of the county’s facilities are very old and, in many respects, obsolete. Because of the age of each facility, a detailed review of environmental aspects is important. The issue considered most pressing is the current condition of the County owned and operated facilities. Integral to the county’s Strategic Plan is to contract with an independent consulting company to evaluate each of the County’s facilities and recommend short and long-term solutions related to current facility conditions and future needs.

Below are some concerns related to existing County facilities:

The Administrative Building (constructed over 100 years ago) has structural issues related to obsolescence. A visual inspection reveals the building’s foundation has shifted thereby causing cracks in the walls, windows that do not seal and misaligned doors. Heating and air-conditioning equipment are old and not efficient. Recent repair to the elevator necessitated obtaining needed parts from a salvage yard. Elbert County is growing and so are the needs of County staff. Is it possible to upgrade or remodel the current administrative space to accommodate current and future staff needs?

The recent purchase of the Samuel Elbert Building has helped alleviate the office needs for the Clerk and Recorder’s and Treasurer’s Office. The Strategic Plan will project future staff and office needs. A renovation plan for the basement space and the installation of an elevator will make it useable from an Americans with Disabilities point of view. The plan will identify the best use for this space.

The Health and Human Resources facilities consist of two temporary buildings which are currently being modified to accommodate recent and projected growth. The plan will evaluate projected future staff needs and the expected life of the facilities and related needs.

The County needs to determine the condition of the Fair Grounds and evaluate deferred maintenance issues.

The Strategic Plan needs to include a business plan for the Fairground Facilities that recommends factors, which would help determine future use. Should it be a destination or a primarily local use facility?

Recognizing future population growth as determined by the State Demographer, we must project future Coroner facility needs and location, complete with an estimated cost.

The County constructed the Sheriff Facility and jail about 30 years ago and it is showing many signs of obsolescence. A recent Study, prepared by an outside consultant, indicates the Jail is difficult to maintain, has safety issues, and is not large enough to manage current legal obligations.

The Strategic Plan will further evaluate current and future needs, condition of the jail facility, including Sheriff office space, and present options available to the County. The Plan will recommend the appropriate action to either update the current facility or replace it, including cost estimates.

The current Public Works facilities constructed in 1938 are old, obsolete and possibly unsafe. The facilities are not large enough or sophisticated enough to handle the larger and more technically advanced equipment in use today.

The Strategic Plan will evaluate the current condition of these facilities and their location in conjunction with current and future needs. Where should the County locate possible new facilities, when and at what cost?

The County staff is preparing a Request for a Proposal to provide potential professional contractors an opportunity to submit a proposal to identify immediate, short and long-term issues related to projected staff requirements, environmental, structural and safety risks. Remediation plans complete with cost estimates will assist in preparing the Strategic Facility Plan. The contractor selected will provide a cost commitment for them to prepare the needed information for the Strategic Facility Plan for the County. It will include short term and long-term projections with cost estimates and recommended action plans.