WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lee County Prepares for Office Renovations

Fort Madison, IA – Lee County has been working with the Iowa Department of Human Services and Iowa Workforce Development on an office consolidation plan for months.

The agencies are looking to move their Fort Madison-based employees to the county building. The move would lead to about ten employees switching offices.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors was ready to start the process of renovating the building to allow for additional employees. But Vice Chairwoman Janet Fife-LaFrenz says the plan had to be put on hold because the agencies expressed concerns with the proposed office lay-out.

"We felt that it would be better to table it," says Fife-LaFrenz, "at this point and have another meeting to re-look at the questions that have been raised and make sure we have a solid plan that is in agreement with everyone involved."

Fife-LaFrenz says some of the issues involve the location of a wall in the northern quarter of the North Lee County office building and the amount of furniture being purchased.

The county will have to spend about $100,000 on the renovation and additional furniture needs. That money could be made back because Iowa Workforce Development would rent its space from the county for nearly $40,000/year.

Lee County would also save money on office space rental for the Iowa Department of Human Services. The county is required to provide space for that agency.

Fife-LaFrenz hopes to have the issues worked out so the board can vote on the consolidation plan on May 18.

South Lee County Courthouse

Lee County is also moving forward with plans to renovate portions of the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors has hired Entrup Drywall and Painting (Quincy, IL) to resurface the walls of the Clerk of the Court's Office on the third floor. The company will also renovate two other 3rd floor rooms and a 2nd floor bathroom and storage room.

Vice Chairwoman Janet Fife-LaFrenz says the project also calls for the carpet and filing system to be replaced.

"It will also allow them a safer counter," says LaFrenz, "so that when a customer comes to the counter, they will actually be standing in the hall instead of being tucked into a room."

The work should get underway in a matter of weeks and cost about $40,000. The county recently renovated the third floor courtroom.