The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Wednesday, passed a resolution approving the purchase of property across the street from the courthouse. The Resolution said “Whereas the Cass County Communications Center needs to expand the area of its facility in order to comply with State regulations, and (because) there is no available area for expansion within the courthouse or courthouse annex, and where the property at 707 Poplar Street…has come available for purchase, the Board of Supervisors believe it is in the best interest of the County to purchase (the) property for future expansion. The purchase price is $370,000.
The payments will be made in installments. The building is currently owned and occupied by the Cambridge Law Firm. The Board Wednesday also passed a resolution setting the date for a Public Hearing on the lease of the building for a term of more than three-years. The hearing will take place at 9-a.m. December 18th in the Supervisor’s Board Room at the Courthouse. Work on the building will likely not begin for at least three-to four-months.
It remains to be determined whether the lower level of the Cambridge building will be used for a new 9-1-1 Center, or the offices of the County Assessor and Engineer. Moving those offices would likely open-up enough space for an expansion of the current Communications Center on the lower level of the courthouse. Cass County E-911 Director Rob Koppert said Al Povandra, with Povandra Carlson, West and Povandra Architects in Omaha, stopped by last week to conduct an initial assessment of the lower level of the courthouse to determine the cost effectiveness of using that section exclusively for the 911 Communications Center.
Koppert said Povandra had some concerns with the Engineer’s space. A room where a pipe broke a couple of years ago could be problematic if anything of value where to be established there. It’s possible that space could be renovated into a restroom, which would also need to be ADA compliant. Koppert says another concern is with regard to windows in the lower level of the courthouse. He said they will be required to install one-way or opaque windows so people can’t see in and gather information about the equipment and computer systems inside.
Some type of shuttering to prevent severe weather damage would also be needed. Up to 11 windows may need to be treated, but whatever is put in place, must also meet the requirements of the National Historic Registry, because the Courthouse is listed on that Registry. Povandra had previously mentioned whatever renovations are done to the building won’t come cheap because the building is constructed so well.