Carroll departments are running out of space at the County Office Building

February 02, 2005|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Less than seven years after a $4.2 million expansion of the County Office Building in Westminster, space is so tight that some departments may have to relocate.

The Space Evaluation Committee delivered a preliminary report to the Carroll County commissioners yesterday, detailing its search for offices for the two additional commissioners who will join the three-member board next year and its review of several agencies' requests for more room.

"We are bursting at the seams at the County Office Building and may need some agencies to move out," said Ralph E. Green, director of the county's Department of General Services and committee chairman. "We built a nice-sized addition a few years ago, but now we are full."

In July 1998, the commissioners dedicated the 40,000- square-foot addition to the three-story building that opened in the early 1970s at 225 N. Center St. The expansion helped consolidate all county offices under one roof, said Green, who recalled nearly daily treks to the courthouse to get building permits.

On the third level, the commissioners share a floor with the offices they visit most often: county attorney, management and budget, comptroller and information and communication services. The addition also gave the board a spacious conference room and created a public meeting room on the ground floor.

Now, Green said, "there is a strong possibility someone will have to move off the third floor to another floor and that will mean somebody else has to move. We have to decide who could operate just as efficiently but independently of the County Office Building. Some agencies can do that."

The need for space extends to other county buildings. The Employment Resource Center needs room to expand in the Business & Employment Resource Center Building, across Center Street. Carroll Area Transit System, housed in a one-time truck terminal on Ralph Street, and the Sheriff's Office on Court Street also are pressed for space.

The county will unveil recommendations for a new detention center Feb. 10 in a report that will discuss size, cost and a construction timeline.

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