County extension office moving; Vacated environmental services office to become new home

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Mower County Extension office will move into a new home later this year.

The county board unanimously approved a plan Tuesday for the extension office, which is most known for coordinating 4-H, to move into the vacant former environmental services building near the public works office on Eighth Avenue Northeast.

“They have looked at it and they’re very enthusiastic about the possibilities,” Commissioner Polly Glynn said.

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Other county offices in the Mower County Government Center are in the process of being moved within the building. The coordinator’s office moved from the east side of the building to a spot on the south side of the building, and veteran services is set to move into the old coordinator’s office.

Extension had originally been set to move from the Government Center basement to the current veteran services office, which is on the far north side of the building. However, the spot doesn’t have adequate space for extension’s needs.

The county’s building committee discussed building or remodeling office space at the Mower County Fairgrounds, since much of extension’s work is done at the fairgrounds, especially during fair season. However, costs could have topped $200,000.

Instead, the board settled on the former environmental services office, which was left vacant when the department merged with public works a few years ago.

The space is currently being used for storage, and the county plans a small remodel to convert a lab into a conference room, upgrade the bathrooms, install a safety door, paint and possibly to install new carpet. Commissioners estimated the efforts could cost $30,000 to $40,000, if not less, depending on bids.

The board would like to get the office ready and moved before the fair this August, but board members didn’t want to rush the move.