Preliminary annex floor plans presented to commissioners

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This site plan photo, provided by Scott Nielson of NBW Architects, shows how the building would fit in the property, with a covered walkway from the current Jefferson County Courthouse to the annex. COURTESY PHOTO

Scott Nielson, of NBW Archtects, of Idaho Falls, presented the first preliminary floor plans for a proposed annex to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners Feb. 27.

The building shown was reduced in size from original 10,000 square feet per floor to 8,550 per floor. The total project cost was estimated to be approximately $3.5 million. Further reductions might be made in size, but commissioners said they believed the budget could work.

“I think we can live with that,” Commissioner Scott Hancock said.

Nielson explained that the floor plans are preliminary and will likely change. Some offices were larger than necessary, and mechanical rooms could be moved.

The building would have the Probation Department on the main floor, with a west entrance. The assembly room would take up a large portion of the building. There would be two stairways with one elevator. The main courthouse and annex would be connected north and south with an enclosed hallway.

The second floor would have the Planning and Zoning, Prosecutor’s Office, and Extension Office.

The design is limited by the county’s requirement to have a 1,500 square foot multipurpose assembly room, with partitions to divide it into three 500 square foot rooms.

“One of the big drivers is this here, the 800-pound gorilla, that meeting room,” he said.

He said that an idea he had was that since the multipurpose assembly room is so large, yet would not be used as often, perhaps the room could be moved upstairs.

Nielson said that planning and zoning and extension would have people in and out every day, while the multipurpose room would be used less often.

Hancock and Chairman Brian Farnsworth said it would be fine to move it. Executive Assistant Rebecca Squires asked about whether it would impact 4-H kids having to run outside for projects.

Farnsworth answered that the Extension Office could probably utilize the Jefferson County Fairgrounds building for projects and classes.

Nielson said that the plans probably had a little “glut” in them and he could cut down the size of the building to remove unnecessary space, which could save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However, the shrinking size of the annex won’t leave much room for the county to grow into the building. According to the plans, just 900 square feet of the second floor—out of 8,550 square feet—would be left unfinished. The basement will also be mostly unfinished, but the county plans to put the food bank and storage in the lowest level.

Nielson said that he would meet with departments to go over the preliminary plans and would report back in two weeks.

Hancock added that, with springtime construction just around the corner, it might be getting close to begin having weekly meetings on the plans’ progress.

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