Board considering remodeling old jail for probation offices

The Scotts Bluff County Board Monday agreed to put out a request for proposals on renovating the first floor of the old jail as office space for expanded juvenile probation services.

Chief Probation Officer Linda Buehler came to the board Monday asking them to approve the hiring of architect Reilly-Johnson of Denver to conduct "value engineering" that would reduce the cost of a 2008 estimate of $700,000 to remodel the area.

But the board was divided on whether to involve an architect. Commissioner Ken Meyer said the county didn't need such a "sophisticated firm" and wanted Buehler to pursue local engineers who could provide a design with the "limited funds" the county had available for the project.

But Board Chair Masterton along with commissioners Mike Marker and Sherry Blaha maintained the project needed to go out for bids. Masterton maintained the board was "dealing with taxpayer money and could not make a mistake."

The county has applied for a $38,000 state grant that is part of recently passed legislation to help fund construction of additional space. Marker will help Buehler look at renting a building near the courthouse for the extra three or four employees to be hired soon while the county considers the old jail feasibility.

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