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Harrison Township

Township agrees to fund study for potential office relocation

Published February 5, 2014

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Harrison Township officials are considering moving their offices into the former Jefferson Elementary School building vacated by L’Anse Creuse Public Schools two years ago.

HARRISON TOWNSHIP —Harrison Township will be coughing up $9,500 to fund a study that would help it determine whether or not it’s feasible to purchase and set up shop in the old vacated L’Anse Creuse Public Schools administration building on the east end of the city.

Township Supervisor Ken Verkest said during the board of trustees’ Jan. 27 meeting that it would be prudent for them to at least look at the pros and cons of a possible move of township offices.

“The study will give us data that will help us make a decision,” he said. “What the shape of the building is like, and what the costs would be to make any necessary repairs. It would let us know if it’s feasible to relocate there.”

Tom Wilkinson with Cunningham-Limp Company, the Oakland County-based firm that will be conducting the investigation of the former Jefferson Elementary School building and ultimately preparing the study, said the study itself would contain specifics right down to the environmental aspects like asbestos, the condition of the structure and an overview of the mechanics.

L’Anse Creuse Public Schools’ administrative offices moved out of the 87-year-old building on Jefferson and Crocker two years ago and relocated to their new tax-funded building, the Harry L. Wheeler Community Center and Administrative Offices, in Clinton Township.

Verkest said the township has an agreement with the school district to split the cost of the study, ultimately resulting in the township paying $4,750. If after the study is complete and township officials decide not to attempt to acquire the land and the building, L’Anse Creuse will keep the study to use for future potential buyers.

The proposal to enter into a contract with Cunningham-Limp to perform the multi-phase study passed with five supporting votes. Trustee David Bratto was absent from last Monday’s meeting, and township Treasurer Darrin York voted against the plan.

He argued that the township’s departments are fine where they are now.

“This building serves our needs,” York said, referring to all of the township’s offices that encompass Townhall and L’Anse Creuse streets. “I don’t think we’re going to be expanding anytime soon.”

He said if the township ever found itself in a position where it needed more room to grow, there is a better solution.

“It would be better to just tear down the current buildings and rebuild,” he said.

Wilkinson said his firm will be unable to thoroughly examine the parking lot on the property because of the snow and ice, but once work begins, it should take between 30-45 days to complete.

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