HARRISVILLE - After almost a year of discussion, Alcona County may begin the process of reorganizing its offices next month to improve security and efficiency for 81st District Court and find more space for increasingly cramped employees and storage properties.
Commissioners Kevin Boyat and Bill Thompson met with head custodian Dan Bielusiak on Dec. 20 to finalize plans for shuffling county employee offices to maximize space and security. Thompson said the county commissioners will be the first to move, at first temporarily into the hallway while rolling file cabinets are installed in their current offices, and the restructuring will begin as soon as they get the go-ahead from a Saginaw-based company that gave them quotes for the rolling file cabinets. He expects the actual installation of the tracks and cabinets to take no more than three days, so county employees may have all relocated by Feb. 1. The move, Thompson said, is necessary to improve security and establish a more ideal setup for court functions.
"District court requires a little bit more security that they don't have in their present location, and by moving them under the big court building, they have more security, and also access to the upper courtroom that's made like a courtroom," he said. "They were using an area that was ... just like a big room that they redesigned, and it didn't really have permanent seats and stuff. By moving them into the main court building, they have access to lawyers and the judge's chambers, so they would just share that."
New cabinets will cost $7-8,000, combined with labor to treat and remove asbestos floor tiles beneath the carpet and transplant files from the old cabinets.
"We'll have one more meeting to blow the whistle and say, 'Let's go' ... in the first week of January," Thompson said. "As soon as we know (everyone) is ready to move forward, then we would start moving our desks out of the way."
District court will relocate to the commissioners' old offices once the cabinets are installed, the commissioners will move into the building department's current location, the building department will move to the district court building next to the sheriff's department, and the housing commission will have its own space in vacated district court rooms. The Department of Veteran Affairs, displaced by district court, may end up sharing the forestry building currently occupied by MSU Extension, though Thompson said he isn't sure.
"The building department and housing were supposed to be together, because the housing needs to have a conference room now and then, and the old district court room could be a temporary conference room, because we're not doing anything to change the actual courtroom itself," he said. "There will be a little bit of space where the housing department is presently. That's one big room ... that would be a non-spoken-for area at this point, and that might give us room for expansion for some other reason. Overall we haven't messed too much with the MSU building that we're still attempting to get a long term lease out of."
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5693.