Clearwater County puts administration building project on hold

County council wants to explore other all options for easing crowded municipal buildings

Clearwater County’s new council has put a contentious administration building project on hold.

A new administration building was taken out of the budget, which was passed last month. Instead, council wants a revised needs assessment completed this year.

“Basically, the new council just does not feel that the justification is there for a new admin building,” said Rick Emmons, acting chief administrative officer.

“They wanted administration to explore other options.”

The county had been considering a two-phase $25 million project to build a new administration building, bringing all of the departments under one roof, and connected with a service shop.

A 21,500-square-foot first phase would have potentially been followed by a 22,200-square-foot second phase that would become home to planning and development, corporate services, community and protective services offices, along with a new council chambers, and other meeting rooms.

Council voted a year ago to defer the project until the 2018 budget deliberations, which were recently completed.

The scale and timing of the project had been criticized by some in the community, who called on council to drop or delay the project until better economic times.

Emmons said other options besides building include renting or leasing space for county staff. Also still to be considered will be a new building, although it could be different than the earlier plan.

“If it’s to proceed it would be a big commitment and they (council) need to feel confident that it’s the right one.”

Clearwater County’s staff are spread among several buildings in the Rocky Mountain House area.

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