Rehabbing Southern State building into Clinton County govt. facility may cost over $3.3M


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



Much of the work to be done at the Southern State building will be redoing the mechanicals of the 21-year-old structure.

Much of the work to be done at the Southern State building will be redoing the mechanicals of the 21-year-old structure.


News Journal file photo

WILMINGTON — The cost to update the former Southern State Community College facility is higher than its purchase price, but much of the re-equipping expense probably will get paid from federal COVID-19 economic stimulus funds better known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

On Monday, Clinton County commissioners approved a $3.3 million contract with Perfection Group, the same design-build company that performed the most recent renovations to the county courthouse. This summer the county acquired the college facility and grounds for $1.25 million.

A lot of the work to be done at the Southern State building will be redoing the mechanicals of the 21-year-old structure.

“One of our goals as county leadership is to make the building energy-efficient right off the bat as much as we can and take advantage of those [utility] savings because it needs to be done,” said Clinton County Commissioners President Mike McCarty.

The smaller part of the rehab cost involves floor work, lighting and repainting, he said.

The intent of the commissioners is that most of the up to $3,342,000 sum will be paid through American Rescue Plan dollars. More specifically, they will pursue the federal grant dollars to pay for most if not all of the HVAC (heating, venting, and air conditioning) and mechanicals improvements, said McCarty.

In a direct tie to the grant dollars’ connection with the pandemic, the HVAC and mechanicals work will ensure air quality standards are high at the government building, and county officials anticipate using this new space in the future as a vaccination point for bigger groups, as it is already.

Though he’s still working through some channels to validate it, it’s in writing that recipients can use the federal dollars to improve air quality and make a safer environment for the public, according to the commissioner.

Altogether, the county expects to receive a little over $8 million of American Rescue Plan funds, he said, and in fact the county has already received the first round of dollars this year and will receive the second round next year.

Of the remainder of the county’s American Rescue Plan allotted dollars, the commissioners are wanting to use a good part of them on county-wide infrastructure, with broadband expansion ”kind of at the forefront,” McCarty said.

An additional rehab cost will be incurred when the Southern State roof is redone by a company different from Perfection Group.

McCarthy said if you do the math, factoring in the facility’s approximately 36,000 square feet and the property’s 25-plus acres of land, “it’s still a fraction of what it would cost to build new space.”

And thanks to the federal stimulus dollars, “it’s going to be an even better value for the county,” said McCarty.

While supply chain issues could push it back, the goal is for a June 2022 opening of the facility, where nine county government offices will relocate.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

Much of the work to be done at the Southern State building will be redoing the mechanicals of the 21-year-old structure.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_sscc_c.jpgMuch of the work to be done at the Southern State building will be redoing the mechanicals of the 21-year-old structure. News Journal file photo

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com