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Shelby Township

December 20, 2012

Renovations to township offices near completion

By Brad D. Bates
C & G Staff Writer

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Building Director Tim Wood said completion of the new police headquarters endeavor could come very close to the one-year anniversary of the project’s official groundbreaking.

Wood said renovations to the offices in the lower level of the township building at 52700 Van Dyke Ave., which previously housed the police, would likely be completed by early spring — almost one year after the March 2, 2012, groundbreaking for the new police station at 52530 Van Dyke Ave.

“We’re under way right now,” Wood said of the renovations, which will see an expansion of offices for the township’s Assessing, Finance and Information Technology departments.

“The demolition portion is completed. They’re beginning to put up walls and work on electrical,” Wood said.

While it is the final phase of construction for a project that dates back to 2007, Wood said the township is taking a careful approach to avoid any future problems.

“All the users have current homes, so to speak, so we want to take it slow and get it right,” Wood said. “The one exception is the Assessing Department, though. If you’ve been to Township Hall, you see their space is squeezed for construction. So they’re a top priority.”

The expanded offices for the Assessing Department will be the most visible change when it is completed, as the renovations will allow more counter space for the pubic to interact and conduct business with Assessing Department workers.

“The Assessing Department had a very small counter space, and their space is going to be two-and-a-half times as wide, and it is being redirected in a way that will provide more user-friendly interaction between assessing and the public,” Wood said.

While it may not be as visible as the new digs for their counterparts in assessing, Wood said the expanded offices would make life markedly easier for workers in finance and IT.

“The Finance Department is likely to benefit with some additional space and better-organized space,” Wood said.

The Finance Department will see expanded workspace by moving to a new space previously occupied by assessing, which will be vacated through renovations.

And the IT Department will then move to the offices formerly used by finance.

“The IT Department has a very small space and will definitely see a larger area than they’re used to,” Wood added. “Right now, they’re sitting right on top of the servers, and there’s noise and heat that makes for a very difficult work environment.

“By moving out of that space, which typically would have its own dedicated space, that’s a huge stride forward.”

Finance, IT and assessing are not the only departments that will be aided by the completion of the project, though, as Wood said it will free up his department to focus on the continued private development of properties across the township.

“There is a considerable amount of time administering the contracts and project management that is taken up by our department,” Wood said of the Building Department’s role in the renovations.

“We’re pleased and happy to have it, but there is no question that, right now, development in the township is up and doing well, so (the police project) does add to the work load.”

Along with new space for workers in the lower level, the renovation will open increased storage space for the Clerk’s Office, a fitness room for the Police Department and multi-purpose training and meeting rooms for township and Police Department business.

“It’ll be good for meetings and the Police Department,” Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis said of the increased space in the building’s lower level.

“And township employees will have more meeting space and be able to accommodate further access to government for the citizen,” he added.

And Stathakis said the benefits of the renovations are all the sweeter because, with their completion, it will officially bring the police- headquarters project to a close, under its original $4 million budget.

“Police Chief Roland Woelkers has made some very important contributions and cost-cutting changes that have made the project-come in under budget,” Stathakis said, citing efforts such as the reuse and repurposing of existing police office furniture and material during the department’s move.

“And with the renovations downstairs, the entire project of police/township hall renovations will come in under $4 million because of outstanding efforts made by Tim Wood and his staff and, of course, our engineer, Fazal Khan,” Stathakis added.