No decision was reached Monday, but members of the Barton County Commission continued discussion of the county-owned building at 352 W 12th in Hoisington. However, the sentiment expressed most Monday was that it would be nice for someone else to own the structure.
The facility has proven expensive.
In fact, Commissioner John Edmonds suggested the county could have built a new structure for what it’s invested in the former church — and the bills are still coming.
Currently, the central air conditioning system is shot. Estimates are that it will cost between $100,000 and $250,000 to fix that. And the furnace is living on borrowed time, too, it was announced.
Finance Officer Janet Crane told the commissioners that since the county accepted ownership of the structure in 2006, has spent $71,894 on operating expenses and $58,571 for improvements, for a total of $130,465.
And the costs will just get greater, Commission Chairman Kirby Krier commented. “We’re looking as some tremendous expenses on that building in the near future.”
Krier made the motion that the two Barton County staffers currently housed in the Hoisington building be moved back into the county’s office building at 12th and Kansas after the first of the year.
Edmonds suggested that move hasn’t been adequately researched, to which Krier agreed and withdrew his motion.
The facility has also been used to house county computer equipment that would be used for a continuity of operations plan.
The former Christian church facility, which was turned over to the county in 2006, has been transformed to include offices for two county staffers, office space that is currently leased out to Clara Barton Hospital, the area for Head Start and space where the county could have its emergency operations, in the event that downtown Great Bend sustains significant damage in a tornado, or other disaster.
The discussion, as presented by the commissioners at their last meeting, involved the possibility of turning the building over to Clara Barton Hospital, allowing it to have additional room for office space in the future.
Commissioner Kenny Schremmer reported last week that he has been in discussions with Clara Barton officials on the option. “They seem to be interested,” he reported then.
The hospital currently has an agreement with the county for use of part of the building in return for paying part of the utility costs.