Government center remodel starts

Work has finally begun on the Government Center and Law Enforcement Center remodel project.

Asbestos abatement is one of the first steps in the project, and that process has begun in the old courtrooms, according to Mower County Coordinator Craig Oscarson.

The Law Enforcement Center lobby is now closed, and those looking for forms or to speak to dispatch should go to the main floor hallway on the east side of the Government Center. Prescription pill drop-off will not be available until sometime in the summer.

The county is remodeling the vacant spaces in the Government Center — mainly the old jail and court rooms on the second floor — to make room to move Health and Human Services from Oak Park Mall. The project is estimated to cost $4.3 million.

Sheriff Terese Amazi has described the LEC remodel as a facelift that will include things like renovating dispatch, revamping the lobby and repairing worn down areas. The LEC was last remodeled in 1995.

The county is using reserves to fund the Government Center remodel and its portion of the LEC work. The city is jointly funding the LEC project.

The project is slated for completion by the end of the year. Much of the work will come from local contractors. Austin firms won the bids to complete about 22 percent of the work, and southeastern Minnesota firms won the bids for about 67 percent of the work.

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