Commissioners approve design part of MidFirst constructing renovations

The Pottawatomie County Commissioners on Monday approved contracts between Rand Elliott Architects and Lippert Brothers to design and renovate the old MidFirst building on Broadway Street.

District 2 commissioner Randy Thomas said commissioners cleared the start of the design phase of the project and granted Rand Elliott Architects $ 37,500.

In addition to the renovation work on the MidFirst building, Rand Elliott Architects and Lippert Brothers are working on the design and construction of the new administration building.

Thomas said the total budget for the MidFirst renovation project will be $ 400,000 and will be paid from use tax funds.

The purpose of the two-story renovation is to allow District Attorney Allan Grubb’s office to use the old MidFirst building at 330 N. Broadway Street to temporarily house its child welfare staff.

According to Grubb, the Oklahoma Human Services division set up all of the offices in remote locations, and he has employees through Child Support Services.

“(The staff) have a contract with the DHS and work in the DHS office building. They don’t allow my staff to be at work because the DHS works from home,” Grubb said.

Grubb said he asked commissioners in August to allow him to use the old MidFirst building because he believes he will not renew the DA office’s contract with Child Support Enforcement if his staff does not join one Office could return.

“The childcare bureau is running old software that is not fully compatible with new systems, and they always need to be together if there are software issues or issues,” said Grubb. “It’s not a job that can be easily done from home.”

The prosecutor said he believed his staff would prefer to be back at work and that he would use social distancing and other safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Thomas said Grubb intends to use the front of the building for its employees.

Grubb hopes to have his Child Support Services reps in their new office as he gets internet access, purchases furniture, and arranges other details.

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