The building is on a fast-track schedule to become a new home to village government there, and those in charge hope the new village hall and jail will help generate revenue for the village’s general fund. That operating fund has taken a hit through decreased income tax and fine collection, and is expected to take another when the state cuts funding from the Local Government Fund.
Interior demolition work is next, Mayor Michael Gerlach said, and village offices still plan to relocate to the new building in early 2012.
Earlier this month, the village awarded a bid for the demolition work involved in removing some existing walls and plumbing fixtures, and replacing windows. Davis Lawn Maintenance, Inc., Blanchester, has been awarded the demolition bid at a cost of $69,000.
Gerlach said the company, which also performs asbestos abatement work and whose bid was approved by Engineer Randy Breech, has begun to sample ceiling tiles and other building materials for asbestos. Those samples are sent to an independent laboratory for analysis, but Gerlach said there appear to be no significant asbestos issues with the old Pearl Street school.
A separate construction bid will be awarded by mid-year, and a meeting with potential contractors for the final phase of the conversion will be scheduled once demolition is completed.
he bid is the first of two construction phases involved as council converts the school building into a new village hall. The entire project is expected to cost $800,000, and bonds are to be sold to raise the money. However, the village sees the jail to be contained in the new building as a potential source of revenue.
The village hall plans center around a 12-bed jail, which will be built in one wing of the old school building. That jail, which will have no public access from the outside, should help the village retire the bond debt and infuse the general fund.
The village will charge Sheriff Robert Beegle $50 a day to house prisoners in the facility, and will also make it available to neighboring jurisdictions needing space to house inmates.
At Monday evening’s regular meeting of village council, Fiscal Officer Susan Baker said the jail will allow the village a rare opportunity to enhance its general fund without increasing taxes or fees.
The village has also purchased an adjacent lot, at a cost of $27,500, in order to construct the secure access area to the jail.