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Plans under way for new office space for Butler County's human services division

| Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Butler County has taken a big step forward in the construction of a four-story office complex that would house offices for its human services division, Commission Chairman William McCarrier said Wednesday.

McCarrier and Commissioner A. Dale Pinkerton voted to approve the design of a $12.1 million structure.

“We're pretty sure at this point,” McCarrier said. “Our construction manager has worked out all the costs.”

Commissioner James Eckstein voted against it.

Eckstein has been an advocate of buying Holly Pointe, a building near the county government center and putting offices there, which he said could save the county millions in construction costs. Attempts to reach him for comment were not successful.

Plans call for a four-story structure to connect with the government center, McCarrier said, on land that opened up when the old Butler County Jail was demolished in 2010.

The government center is behind the courthouse, at 124 West Diamond St., in Butler.

Two floors of the new building would house county personnel, one would remain empty for future expansion, and the ground floor would house a parking lot.

McCarrier said that parking area could also be converted to office space if needed.

County officials said they need about 33,000 square feet of space for about 80 human services employees, including those for children and youth services, mental health, drug and alcohol, and early childhood intervention programs.

Commissioners said employees are too cramped in the government center, which is more than 20 years old.

It's not clear when the project will go out for bid, McCarrier said.

McCarrier said that if bids came in well over the expected cost, commissioners could stop the project. With careful planning by construction manager firm Thomas and Williamson in Ross, he said, he expected the bids to come in close to the estimate.

The county would borrow the money for the project, McCarrier said, and may also add to a loan the cost of building a new district judge office in Cranberry, estimated at $750,000, and also at least another $500,000 for heating and cooling work for the government center.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or

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