Meeting reveals new extension building still needs work

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By Ashley Scoby

Construction of the new county extension office is still not complete approximately two years after groundbreaking. Plans are now in the works to install dividers into the large meeting room to create smaller, individual meeting spaces for separate groups.
A divided meeting room was in the original construction plans, but the ceiling was supposed to be able to support suspended walls that would separate the room. When the building was constructed, however, that structural support did not exist. Now, construction is set to begin to remedy the situation.
The building committee for the extension office passed a motion last Tuesday for a proposal that would include installing steel beams into the room to which the dividing walls would be attached. No demolition of the ceiling is planned.
“They’re going to paint them (the posts) the color of the walls,” said extension board member Glen Goebel. “That is subject to change. They might want to enclose them with something later on.”
If the committee decides they want to do more than paint the beams, an idea was presented to possibly drywall around the posts sometime down the road.
Another construction proposal would have had dividing walls that did not reach all the way to the ceiling. But the approved proposal offers the chance for the walls to reach cleanly from the floor to the ceiling.
A motion was also passed to release from contract the architects of the extension office project, Whitaker 2 Architects in Shelbyville. The committee decided in Tuesday’s meeting the architects’ services were no longer needed in this particular phase of the project.
The building committee had previously told the architects they wanted a ceiling that could support the folding doors necessary to divide the meeting room. That structural support never came to fruition, leading to the need for the current construction, as well as disappointment on the part of some committee members.
“We talked early on about having the doors suspended from the ceiling,” said committee member Davis Lee Downs during the meeting. “Here we spent $2 million and we were going to have this great room … I’m disappointed.”
An estimated $80,000 will be spent on the new project, a figure that was already factored into the overall $2 million cost of the building, according to Goebel. Completion of the project is set to take an estimated six to eight weeks.
“We’ve been working on this for over a month,” Goebel said. “We’re trying to get it right, and I hope we did.”