Porter County has a lot of voting machines, but not a lot of room for them.
That is about to change.
The county will soon be moving forward with gutting and expanding the
sheriff’s department substation at 326 W on CR 700 North in the
unincorporated South Haven area of Portage Twp.
The renovation will make room for storage of Voter’s Registration Office
equipment and supplies and offices for the Portage Twp. Assessor office.
During the county Board of Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday, Bob Gerometta,
president of Gerometta & Kinel Architects in Chesterton, presented outlines
of the extensive remodeling project to the 2,200 square-foot substation. A
basement will be constructed adding 1,500 square feet where the voting
machines will be stored and a mechanical lift will be put in to carry up the
items at election time.
More space, approximately an additional 1,900 square feet, will be added for
the new assessor offices, Gerometta said.
County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, said moving the
assessor’s office will allow for the superior courts at the county’s North
Complex in Portage to spread out to handle more cases as their numbers have
risen. The county will also get the chance to add more meeting rooms.
The building had been purchased by the county about two years ago from
Portage Township but the sheriff’s department has utilized some of the space
for the last ten years for training and offices.
The renovations will also upgrade the wiring and new carpet will be put in,
Advertisements for construction bids will be published this Friday and the
week after. The commissioners will hold a special meeting to accept bids on
Thursday, Oct. 11 where Gerometta will take them under advisement and will
later make a recommendation to the commissioners at their following meeting
on Oct. 16 when they are expected to award the bid.
The project is expected to cost from about $450,000 up to $500,000.
In other business, Evans announced five county employees selected to serve
on the panel to research and evaluate a new health insurance plan for the
A month ago when the Evans announced the committee, he said it will have at
least four members – one member who is single, one member who is married but
without children, one member who is married with children and one member who
requires special needs – to advise how plans would affect them.
The members of the committee will be Melissa Kerr of the county’s Superior
Court #6, Charlene Marckese of the county sheriff’s department, David James
of the county highway department, Ken Elwood of the public defender’s
office, and Sharon Lippens of the information technology services
Evans will also be on the committee, along with Council President Dan
Whitten, D-at large.
The committee will meet three times – Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 16 -- and
will make a report to the commissioners afterwards.
Also on Tuesday, the commissioners approved early voting on the two
Saturdays before the Nov. 6 county general elections, at the Portage Complex
and Chesterton Town Hall satellite voting locations.