Chesterton Tribune


South Haven sheriff substation renovation gets green light

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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, Gerometta said.

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.

Insurance committee formed

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 county employees.

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 department.

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.



Posted 9/20/2012