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The new building building for various Hillsdale County offices. Collegian|Regan Meyer

Various Hillsdale County gov­ernment offices will move to a newly ren­o­vated building within the next week.

The County pur­chased the building, which once housed the Hillsdale Daily News, about four years ago for about $200,000. Ren­o­va­tions didn’t start until two years ago when funding finally came available. County Main­te­nance Director and Project Manager Randy Finley and his staff did almost all of the ren­o­va­tions.

“Every­thing that we could pos­sibly do our­selves, we did,” Finley said. “We ripped it down to the bare bone. We gutted it all. We put a new roof on, put new floors in the basement, new HVAC systems in. It’s brand new from top to bottom.”

Many of the county offices are cur­rently housed in the Dis­trict Court building or annex across the street from the cour­t­house. The annex is cur­rently for sale.

“We’re hoping that it will be put to better use for the downtown area, maybe a restaurant or retail with some offices or apart­ments above,” Dis­trict 2 Com­mis­sioner Julie Games said. “We’re just hoping it’s put to better use.”

The county could have ren­o­vated the annex, but ren­o­va­tions would have had to take place after hours as the annex is a func­tioning office building. Fur­thermore, the the offices cannot be shut down during business hours per state law.

“It’s extremely high labor costs,” Finley said. “By doing it this way, my staff is able to do a majority of the work our­selves at a much slower pace, obvi­ously, but we’re able to do it at prac­ti­cally the same cost if we were to refurbish the other one. It’s money well spent from the stand­point that we’ll have a more solid building in the end.”

Finley and his staff mod­ernized the building with LED lighting throughout and per­vious con­crete in the parking lot. The pores in the con­crete act as a drain for runoff.

“There are a lot of inno­va­tions that we put in the building that maybe we wouldn’t be able to afford if we had every­thing hired out,” Finley said. “It took us a little longer, but what we did was state of the art stuff.”

Finley hired an architect to draw up the blue­prints for the building, but was able to make changes as needed.

“We used those as the base, but we didn’t adhere real tight,” Finley said. “If we saw that we needed to change some­thing for the better, we did.”

The IT department is one of the offices moving from the cour­t­house to the new building. IT Director David Holcomb is bal­ancing both the move, taking care of IT needs for the new office, and running IT for the rest of the County gov­ernment.

“I have probably got at least 400 hours spent on the new building since they started con­struction,” Holcomb said. “It was a lot of planning. There is close to 12 miles of wire in that building just for the net­works.”

Holcomb worked with Finley and his staff to ensure they were all on the same page.

“You have to have a lot of com­mu­ni­cation with all the people who are involved in the project and make sure everybody is on the same timeline,” Holcomb said.

The ren­o­va­tions should come in right on budget at around $665,000.

“We have to spend money to do this,” Games said. “But to build this building would have cost us mil­lions. We’ve kept the building and made it a little more modern. I’m pretty proud of the way it’s turned out.”