Local News

Story published: 01-09-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Solid cost figures wanted before commitment to archive renovation

By Karen Sells
Assistant Editor

Members of the County-Owned Property Committee want some solid cost figures before making a decision on plans for renovating the Washington County Office Building to serve as a county archive.

Ned Irwin, county archivist and records manager, presented drawings from Beeson, Lusk and Street, Inc. during the Jan. 2 committee meeting.

Chairman Mark Ferguson said he had some questions, beginning with whether additions to the building will be necessary to house the quantity of records belonging to the county.

While the county will be required to install an elevator for public access to the second floor, Irwin said no other expansions are planned.

“I would like to hear some costs and where we plan on getting the money from,” Ferguson said.

According to Irwin, the archive and records management fee will probably service the debt for the renovations, but he is still waiting for prices from the architects.

Commissioners approved a resolution last year to levy a $5 fee to certain requests for county documents, with the revenue from the fees restricted to the archive. Approximately $20,000 per month is generated from the fees.

“So the fees will cover the cost?” Commissioner Doyle Cloyd asked.

“We thought so, but it’s taking all that money right now to pay for the shelving,” answered Commissioner Alpha Bridger, who also serves on the Public Records Commission.

Ferguson recommended waiting until the costs were in-hand before deciding what will be done with the archive, and Commissioner George “Skip” Oldham voiced his agreement.

Ferguson also recommended finding storage space for the district attorney general’s records, which are still on the third floor of the courthouse.

“I think we need to help Tony Clark,” Ferguson said. “He said he has no place to put them.”

Irwin said Clark has approximately 200 boxes and six or seven filing cabinets in the area that has been designated as the Archive Annex.

Mayor Dan Eldridge asked if the records pertain to multiple counties. “We would make space for Washington County records, but we don’t need to be storing records for other counties,” he said.