Frederick County moves ahead with Montevue renovation -- Gazette.Net







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County staff could begin moving into the former Montevue Assisted Living facility in about one year, after renovations to the building are completed.

The Frederick County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Thursday to approve a plan to convert the building at 355 Montevue Lane in Frederick into offices for members of the county’s Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments.

Commissioner Kirby Delauter (R) voted against the measure. He has called the Montevue facility a potential “money pit” and expressed concern the building would inhibit the possible future growth of the nearby Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center.

Work on the facility should be done within 12-15 months, although Chuck Nipe, head of the county’s Department of Facilities and Project Services, said he’d like to see employees move into the building by Dec. 2013.

The project is expected to cost $3.995 million, and will demolish the interior of the building and renovate it as county office space with energy-efficient lighting fixtures, windows and a high-efficiency heating and air conditioning system, Nipe said.

The county-owned Montevue building was built in 1987 and has been empty since July, when its 60 residents were moved to a new facility on Rosemont Avenue.

The commissioners voted in July to delay the demolition of the Montevue building that was scheduled for September and perform a structural analysis to see if it would be a suitable location for county offices.

Officials are looking to see if some of the work for the renovation can be done by county employees to save money.

Potomac Edison offers rebates for renovation projects that use energy-efficient products, and those products should also offer substantial savings on utility costs, according to a county staff report.

Nipe said he believes the renovations could make the building usable for at least the next 15 years, likely more.

The move would shift about 51 employees of the county’s Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments from their current home at 118 N. Market St., which Nipe said would save the county about $27,000 in parking expenses and free up spaces in the downtown parking decks.

The county would also benefit from having Parks and Recreation management staff all in one place and having public works near the county’s transportation and highway operations departments, according to the staff report.

It’s also expected to improve customer service for Parks and Recreation classes and people wanting to reserve facilities, and provide a public space for meetings and other events.

The county is trying to sell the building at 118 N. Market St., as well as another county-owned building at 117. E. Church St.

According to the county’s finance department, the North Market Street building is assessed at $2,081,600.

The county had previously looked at also moving employees in the Treasury Department and Community Development Division from their offices at 30 N. Market St., but rejected the idea because it still owes nearly $6.7 million in debt from the purchase and renovation of that building.