Health offices to move

April 29, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke and Anne Haddad | Kerry O'Rourke and Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writers

Carroll County Health Department offices will move to South Center Street in Westminster at the site of the Carroll Community College Business and Industry Center, county commissioners decided yesterday.

Parking problems at the new location will have to be resolved, they said.

The commissioners said they chose the site at 300 S. Center St. because it was the cheapest of four options. Public works officials said it would cost $1.5 million to $1.6 million to prepare the site for the Health Department.

The Health Department must move because the county is selling the department's building on Stoner Avenue off Washington Road to Carroll County General Hospital.

Health Department employees will move into a 35,800-square-foot portable building that Martin Marietta Corp. in Middle River donated to the county last year.

Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Elmer C. Lippy voted on the move. Commissioner Julia W. Gouge was out of town yesterday.

Health Department Director Janet W. Neslen said she wouldn't comment on the commissioners' decision until they had officially told her about it.

Mr. Dell suggested that the commissioners choose the least expensive option.

"Let's go with the [Center Street] option and fight it out as we go along. We've got to get started," he said.

Public Works Director Keith R. Kirschnick said the site won't be ready for Health Department employees for a year.

Engineers and architects must prepare plans, which must be reviewed and approved by city and county agencies.

Moving the Health Department to the community college property means the college's Business and Industry Center, which works with businesses to retrain employees, eventually will have to move because there isn't enough parking for both uses, said Alan Schuman, vice president for finance at the college.

Health Department officials have said they will need all of the 192 spaces at the property, said Thomas Rio, county chief of building construction.

The commissioners yesterday asked college administrators to explore moving the training center to another location.

Mr. Schuman suggested it be moved to the county's multipurpose building in the 200 block of N. Center St., across from the County Office Building. The building now is being used by Mechanicsville Elementary School, which will be housed there until renovations at the school are finished this summer.

The commissioners also had considered placing a portable building at the multipurpose site for the Health Department. The cost would have been $2.1 million to $2.2 million, Mr. Rio said.

Mr. Schuman said another option for the training center would be for it to co-exist with the Health Department while plans can be made to permanently move it to the college's main campus on Washington Road.

The college master plan calls for the training center to move to the main campus when money is available, he said.

Two weeks ago, county officials suggested that portable buildings could be moved to the college's main campus to house the training center.

"We were very supportive of that, but it was the most costly option," Mr. Schuman said.

As part of that plan, another portable building would have been used to house the Health Department at the South Center Street site, and the training center building probably would have been used for storage, Mr. Rio said. That option would have cost $3.35 million, he said.

As a result of yesterday's decision, county officials must solve parking problems at the South Center Street site. Mr. Kirschnick suggested that the county's commuter transportation coordinator develop a car-pooling plan for Health Department employees.

Robert A. "Max" Bair, the commissioners' executive assistant, said the county might be able to squeeze more parking spaces into the existing lot, which can't be expanded, by drawing smaller spaces.

The commissioners also had considered moving a portable building for the Health Department to Stoner Avenue, next to its current location. That option would have cost $2.1 million to $2.3 million, Mr. Rio said.

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