Commissioners approve to purchase DHS building

Multiple offices of Logan County government will be moving out of the Logan County Courthouse after the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a purchase agreement for the Department of Human Services (DHS) building along S. Division St.

The commissioners (Mark Sharpton, Charlie Meadows, and Monty Piearcy) approved a real estate interlocal agreement with the State of Oklahoma for the building located at 1414 S. Division St. at Thursday’s special meeting.

The purchase price of the DHS building is $2.1 million.

The commissioners also approved to assume the land lease from the Oklahoma School Land with a future goal of purchasing the land.

“This allows us to create enough space for future growth of the county because we are doing nothing but growing,” County Clerk Troy Cole said. “This also allows us to meet the immediate needs, plus future needs, without asking the taxpayers for additional money.”

The DHS building became available after the State made plans to close half of its 92 offices across the state. DHS workers continue to occupy the Guthrie location, and part of the agreement will allow DHS to lease a portion of the site up to March 1, 2025.

Upon the completion of the sale and renovation, which could take up to a year, the offices of the County Clerk, Treasurer, and Assessor will occupy the new building, along with the commissioners. Currently, the assessor and commissioners offices are located in the Annex Building.

Following the move and departures, the Courthouse will become a true judicial building with interior renovations that will add two additional courtrooms, two jury rooms, and ample space for the court clerk and district attorney offices.

“The judges came to us telling us they needed more space. They were so far behind,” Piearcy said at the meeting.

He added, “The taxpayer’s money is being better spent by buying this building and revamping the courthouse. (Now) we don’t have to go out for a bond to ask the people to pay for this project.”

Cole added, “We have looked at every avenue in making decisions in the best interest and the most cost-efficient manner that we can do.”

Breakdown of the $9.3M ARPA

In March of 2022, the BOCC received $9.3M from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, in which, the funds have to be encumbered no later than December 2024 and expended by December 2025.

During the March 2022 BOCC meeting, commissioners outlined how the $9.3M ARPA money would be spent.

An allocation of $1.5M ($500,000 per district) went to the county commissioner road districts for roads and bridges.

The Sheriff’s Office received $750,000 for patrol vehicles and $250,000 for the jail’s roof.

$500,000 went toward the courthouse for security features $300,000 of premium pay to county employees who supported the community throughout the public health emergency, and $250,000 allocated to the county health department. Related article: BOCC outlines $9.3M in ARPA funding for County needs

The remaining $6M balance was first looked at by restoring the County’s Sixth Story Building (across from the courthouse) and moving county offices into the building. However, following studies and inspections it was revealed the building would require additional dollars to fully complete the project.

Next, the BOCC looked at constructing a new facility where the current Annex Building is located to house county offices for $7M. Plans and renderings were made and discussed in multiple meetings. Then the DHS building became an option.

With the $2.1M purchase of the building, commissioners will use the additional $3.9M funds and any additional county funds to renovate the new building and courthouse.


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