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Washington County Commissioners OK Architect Bid for Building Study | News, Sports, Jobs


The Washington County Commissioners Thursday awarded Pickering Associates a contract for an architectural feasibility study of the county’s abandoned WASCO building on Muskingum Drive.

The building is the planned location of a nationwide 911 operation, but the 20,000-square-foot space offers a number of opportunities to accommodate other tenants in addition to 911.

The offer from Pickering, with offices in Parkersburg and Athens, was $22,500. Another bid was submitted by DesignGroup Architects of Columbus for $25,000. Both companies indicated that they would agree to these amounts as flat, fixed fees without “additional reimbursable costs” included in the contract language.

This is basically a feasibility study to show how best to house 911 operations and what can be done with the remaining space, Commission President Charlie Schilling said.

“Let’s determine what could best coexist with 911.” he said, adding that there are many possibilities, including one of several county departments that could move there. “We need to narrow that down before we move on.”

Pickering has stated that drawings can be ready by January 15th.

In another deal, the commissioners approved $50,000 from their American Rescue Plan Act funds to reimburse the Reno Area Water and Sewer District for a new telemetry system they recently installed for their water system. The old telemetry system had been in operation for more than 40 years and failed.

In a letter to the commissioners, Water District officials said the old facility required parts of the system to be operated manually at all hours of the day and night, and there was no way of knowing exactly when system operations needed to be shut down. to prevent this tanks from overflowing. The new system will enable the district to provide water supply continuously and without interruption, the letter said.

In addition, it gives employees maximum effectiveness in solving problems as quickly as possible.

The commissioners received an application from County Engineer Roger Wright to apply for a Community Development Block Grant Program Critical Infrastructure Grant for a new truss bridge over Washington County 76 at Lowell near Cat Creek. This is the first time Wright has applied for these types of grants, he said, and it was a little different than others he’s done. But the grant would cover 65% of a $564,000 bridge, so it’s worth trying, he said.

Wright said County 76 is a very busy road and it will be impractical once work is ongoing and it is closed to traffic. But he will try to plan the road closures for May, June and July when there is no school traffic.

The commissioners also approved a second, revised version of a shared use agreement with Historic Harmar Bridge Company and the City of Marietta. The county approved a first version of HHBC’s proposed agreement a few weeks ago. However, in seeking Marietta’s approval, HHBC made changes that the city desired.

All three groups are now signed participants in the revised version. Among other things, the joint user agreement will help HHBC use a capital grant from Ohio House Bill 687 to recoup the $50,000 it raised and spent conducting an underwater and structural inspection of the bridge.

The Washington County Courthouse was closed for Thanksgiving on November 24-25. Schilling said employees under the commissioners’ jurisdiction are paid Fridays, but he believes this should not be a department-by-department decision, with some employees getting paid Friday for vacation and others not.

“I think it’s important to be consistent in the future,” he said.




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