Cass County Supervisors move forward with plans for courthouse study


December 13th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors discussed at length Wednesday morning, the possibility of having a full study conducted on options available and costs, to expand facilities at the courthouse, or renovate certain areas to accommodate the urgent needs of the Cass County 9-1-1 Communications Center. The discussion, which lasted nearly an hour, began with Supervisor Mark Wedemeyer saying the Public Safety Commission met recently and has a proposal for the Board to consider, with regard to a feasibility study. The proposal calls for the study the Public Safety Commission to pay 100 percent of the study if the supervisors agree to commit to moving the 911 center to either the garage near the Cass County Sheriff’s Office or the east wing of the 3rd floor.

In recent, previous meetings of the County Supervisors, Cass County 9-1-1 Director Rob Koppert stressed the importance of making a decision on where the Comm Center should go, citing pressing timelines for the installation of “Next Generation” 9-1-1 equipment, as well as the space for that equipment and additional personnel. Koppert reiterated that point again during Wednesday’s meeting.

Mark Wedemeyer said an engineering firm which had expressed interest in the project since it was proposed last year, came to a recent meeting of the County Public Safety Commission to make an offer on conducting a study of the proposed sites on the courthouse grounds for the 911 Center. The fact that so much infrastructure is involved in any renovation of the courthouse, including computer servers, wiring, plumbing and heating, prompted Supervisor Chuck Rieken to call for a complete engineering study of the courthouse, not a “band-aid” approach to fixing problems as they pop up.

Reiken said if there’s going to be money invested in an expansion or renovation, they need to look at the long-term affect of how that will be accomplished and where the money will come from. The Board said it would not object to helping pay for the initial study, if it included more than just the 91-1 Center relocation.

The Board concluded their meeting by asking Rob Koppert to contact the company which expressed interest in conducting the feasibility study, to set up a meeting where a whole courthouse study is discussed instead of the initial, partial study for just the 911 Center’s needs.