LA CROSSE, WI - As a building ages, there comes a time when you have to decide whether to pour money into renovations or give up on it and start from scratch.
It's a decision La Crosse County is trying to make about its administrative center.
And after years of indecision, board members say plans are starting to take shape.
"It's hard when the numbers are pretty close like this," said La Crosse County board supervisor Joe Veenstra.
The cost estimates are in for the different options for the La Crosse County Administrative Center and it's not making the decision any easier.
"The numbers are really close," said Veenstra.
Veenstra said the county could renovate the existing building for an estimated $24 million, redesign the existing for $23 million or build brand new at a different location for about $21 million.
The county could also rent space, but it's not as cost effective as the other three options.22744080
"The expense of renting and the idea of having all of our administrative services at a location that's far away from all the the rest of the county services and city services and Western and downtown presents some challenges," said Veenstra.
So if the county builds new it would have three locations to choose from.
The first is in the parking lot across from the courthouse. The other two options are on either side of the health and human services building.
Veenstra said the decision will largely rest on the board members priorities.
"What do they consider most important. Space utilization? Public service? Parking? Downtown renovation? There's all sorts of consideration," said Veenstra.
"I personally favor a new building," said La Crosse County Board Supervisor Sharon Hampson.
Hampson said it makes sense to put the money into a new building since they county already has a good offer from 360 Real Estate to buy the administrative center.
"Somehow we have to find the best way to use that extra space or turn it over to the people who want to buy it because they have a great plan," said Hampson.
And with so many things to take into consideration, Veenstra said he's not sure which way the board will go.
"The wind's not blowing in any certain direction," said Veenstra.
Hampson and Veenstra say it's an important time to contact your county board members to let them know what you think should be done with the administrative building and some of the space they're considering building on.
For your district's information visit, http://www.co.la-crosse.wi.us/countyboard/
Hampson said they should have a decision made by January.
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