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Commissioners approve office renovations

Posted: February 6, 2013 - 10:49am  |  Updated: February 10, 2013 - 12:05am
The 21st graduating class of Columbia County's Community Emergency Response Team was recognized Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the county commission meeting as members of the volunteer group received certificates. Completing the training are Mike Coleman (front row, from left), Rodney Silvey, Tammy Shelton, Nakia Gardenhire, Rico Green, Frank Blocki, Willie Smith, Tyler Key, Kim Smith, Brent Adams and Marlon Tutt; Wayne Eubanks (back row, from left), Danny Phillips, Andrew LaSure, Bill Clayton, John Maldonado, Mark Inglett, Dalton Williams, Allen Parham, Chris Martin, Gary Dempsey, Ryan Moore and Brian Zembiak.  Special
Special
The 21st graduating class of Columbia County's Community Emergency Response Team was recognized Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the county commission meeting as members of the volunteer group received certificates. Completing the training are Mike Coleman (front row, from left), Rodney Silvey, Tammy Shelton, Nakia Gardenhire, Rico Green, Frank Blocki, Willie Smith, Tyler Key, Kim Smith, Brent Adams and Marlon Tutt; Wayne Eubanks (back row, from left), Danny Phillips, Andrew LaSure, Bill Clayton, John Maldonado, Mark Inglett, Dalton Williams, Allen Parham, Chris Martin, Gary Dempsey, Ryan Moore and Brian Zembiak.

Job-hunters will find easier access and county commissioners will get more elbow room after a half-million-dollar renovation of a Columbia County government building.

Commissioners on Tuesday accepted the $535,030 bid from S.D. Clifton Construction Inc. of Evans for renovation of Building B, in the Evans Government Center.

“Hometown contractor, hometown business, hometown office,” said District 3 Commissioner Charles Allen after commissioners unanimously approved the Clifton’s bid.

Clifton recently completed renovations on the Building C in the Government Center, turning the former Health Department clinic into combined offices for the county’s Development Authority, Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The exterior of the building won’t change, but the inside will be gutted, said Construction and Maintenance Division Director Matt Schlachter.

“This is a complete renovation,” he said. “That building is 20 years old.”

The county’s currently cramped Human Relations department will have more room on the first floor of the building. “It allows them to move downstairs, spread out and give better access to the public,” Schlachter said.

Upstairs, the four district commissioners for the first time will each get their own office instead of sharing a single room, and commissioners also will have a larger conference room.

The project could begin “within a month,” Schlachter said, but might take a while because the building will be occupied during the renovations.

Funding for the renovations comes from the county’s sales tax.

OTHER ACTION TUESDAY INCLUDED:

• Commissioners gave first reading to plans to increase rental rates and, in some cases, extend rental periods at some county facilities including Savannah Rapids Pavilion. The changes also now will charge organizations $100 for staging footraces, such as charity 5Ks, from Savannah Rapids Park.

Final approval of the changes are expected at the commission’s Feb. 19 meeting.

• Commissioners approved rental rates for the newly built Mill House at Savannah Rapids, a two-story facility that will have bike rentals on the first floor, along with public restrooms and a meeting room on the second floor overlooking the Reed Creek waterfall.

Bike rentals, previously staged from a vendor’s trailer, will begin March 1 from the facility, said Columbia County Community and Leisure Services Division Director Barry Smith.

• The newest members of the volunteer Community Emergency Response Team, many of them employees of the county’s Water Utility including Director Billy Clayton, were recognized. With the graduation of the 21st team, the county now has 447 trained CERT members, said Columbia County Emergency and Operations Division Director Pam Tucker. A new CERT class begins in two weeks.

• Commissioners approved a public transit contract that will provide through state rural transportation funding two new transit vans for the county at no local expense, Tucker said. The value of the grant is just more than $79,000, she said.

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