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Sun., Oct. 4
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Lewis County officials shuffling offices to exit St. Peter’s


LOWVILLE — Lewis County officials have devised an office-shuffling plan that would clear county workers from a former Catholic school building by the end of June.

“I think it’s going to work well,” said Legislator Jack T. Bush, R-Brantingham, chairman of the legislative Buildings and Grounds Committee.

The county now rents space in the former St. Peter’s Catholic School on Shady Avenue for the Board of Elections, Office for the Aging and highway and solid waste administration.

However, the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services is moving forward with plans to lease and eventually buy that building. BOCES officials propose to move the 41-student alternative education program from the Howard G. Sackett Technical Center campus in Glenfield to the former school building here because students in the full-day program now have no access to gymnasium or cafeteria facilities.

Legislators a few weeks ago approved renting space for the next couple of years in the Lowville Commons on South State Street and the LeRoy Nichols Building at the Lewis County Fairgrounds to accommodate those three offices.

However, county officials later determined that the Nichols building would not suit their needs, so they decided to free up some space in the county office building on North State Street instead.

“I don’t see that we have any other choices that make sense,” Mr. Bush said.

The committee chairman commended workers in the affected departments for their flexibility and positive attitude.

“They’ve all given the attitude of, ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to make it work,’” he said.

The planned office moves are as follows:

n Trail coordinator’s office from the basement to the third-floor economic development and planning suite in the county office building.

n Buildings and grounds office from the basement to the third-floor economic development conference room.

n James A. Durkish, north country representative for state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, from the basement to share the county legislative chairman’s office on the second floor behind the legislative chambers.

n Highway and solid waste administration to the vacated space in the basement of the county office building.

n Board of Elections to the first floor on the north end of the Lowville Commons.

n Office for the Aging to the second floor on the north end of the Lowville Commons.

County employees, under direction from Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Frank J. Archer, have started preparing for the office building moves, which likely will be completed before any offices are moved out of St. Peter’s.

All county offices tentatively are slated to be out of the old Catholic school by June 30, Mr. Bush said.

That should allow county maintenance workers to undertake the project as they have time, with highway employees likely able to assist prior to spring work, he said.

“The main thing about this timetable is he doesn’t have to do it all at once,” Mr. Bush said of Mr. Archer.

The moves are intended to be temporary, as county officials are accepting bids for constructing a two-story, 45,000-square-foot building on outer Stowe Street that would eliminate the need for leased office space. However, a decision to go forward with the proposed building will come only if legislators deem the bids affordable.

Some lawmakers were not completely sold on the idea and floated the notion of instead buying the Commons, which is being marketed by CBRE in Syracuse and now houses some private tenants.

The project, including renovations to the current Department of Social Services building, is expected to cost roughly $11 million.

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