Officials expect to decide location of drug rehab center by year's end

Construction, renovation of Springfield building in Sykesville possible

November 30, 2001|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The Carroll commissioners expect to decide by the end of the year where they will locate a long-term drug treatment facility for county youths.

The board is focusing on two options: renovate the vacant 53-year- old Jones Building at the state-owned Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville, or build on hospital land the state has made available.

"The Jones Building is still there for our consideration," said Thomas J. Rio, chief of the Carroll bureau of building construction, during a meeting with the commissioners yesterday. "Now there is also one lot near the edge of the hospital just off Route 32."

The lot, near the Park & Ride on Route 32 less than a mile north of the town, has access to public water and sewer. Rio called it "a nice piece that is more than enough for the treatment center."

Plans call for a 12,000-square- foot building with options for expansion, should that become necessary. The state has not said how much land it would offer or what lease arrangements it would make.

The commissioners have set aside $2 million for the center, which they thought would require renovating a building. A new building would cost about $1 million, Rio estimated. He has not received renovation estimates for the Jones Building, although several local contractors have studied the five-story brick structure.

"They are looking with a practiced eye and will be a great help to us," said Rio. "These contractors are talking about a lot of work and asking if we really want to do it. We would have to renovate the entire building, even though we would only use parts of it."

The Jones Building contains about 44,000 square feet, far more than the county needs for its planned 25-bed center. The county would need three floors, but would have to upgrade heating, plumbing and electrical systems throughout the building.

"We are actively pursuing these options so we can bring back a recommendation to you by the end of the year," said Ralph E. Green, county director of permits and inspections.

In other business yesterday, Green said he is having difficulty finding contractors to install heating in the county's corporate airport hangars. Only one of the seven hangars is heated. The cost to heat each of the remaining six with one boiler and four circulators will be about $30,000.

"At this point, we have two hangars occupied without heat," said Gary L. Horst, county director of enterprise and recreation services. "Our game plan was to get heat installed even before we had occupants."

The leases do not promise heat, but would make marketing the hangars easier, said Horst. One tenant is interested in leasing a second hangar if the county provides heat.

Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier said she wants to proceed with the improvements as soon as possible.

"Let's go forward at 100 [mph] or however fast an airplane travels," she said.

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