The Stark County Commission moved closer Tuesday to finalizing design plans for the Stark County Courthouse renovation and addition that’ll begin this summer, and discussed taking additional public input on the project before construction begins.
Rob Remark, the project leader for JLG Architects in Dickinson, asked for the commission’s approval during its regular monthly meeting at the courthouse to move forward on the design
The committee will do a virtual “walk through” of the project Thursday as a member of the public, as a county worker and as a sheriff’s offi ce employee escorting a detainee to the courtroom. They’ll also discuss specifi c materials that could be used in the project both on the exterior and interior.
“I wish there was a way we could get all of the county commissioners to go to that meeting, to participate, without having to call a special meeting,” said Ken Zander, one of two commissioners on the building committee.
Remark also suggested Thursday as a good time to plan a public input meeting or open house for the project. Zander said he believed it was a good idea, so the public understands the scope of the project in relation to the estimated cost.
“I’ve been asked, ‘At what stage will we have a dollar number attached to this?’” Zander said.
Remark said the project’s total cost is still tracking around the commission’s approved $6.48 million budget that was signed last December, though that fi gure is likely to be fi nalized during the June commission meeting.
Remark said bidding and negotiations should wrap up in June, though construction will likely start that month. The expected construction period is 12 to 14 months, he said after the meeting.
Scull Construction is the construction manager at risk on the project.
VSO adds transportation programs
Veterans Service Officer Jessica Clifton said Stark County has been approved for a North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs rural transportation grant that’ll allow veterans from the area, as well as surrounding counties, to be taken by a volunteer driver to medical appointments wherever they need — including out of state.
She mentioned that both VA clinics in Fargo and Sturgis, S.D., fall under that category.
“As long as my volunteer is willing to spend a day or two on the road with them,” she said. She said one of the biggest challenges for veterans in southwest North Dakota, including Dickinson, is transportation.
So, in Dickinson, the offi ce is launching a pilot program called Veteran Vouchers that’ll allow veterans who sign up with the offi ce to receive vouchers to ride public transportation for free.
“Wherever they need,” Clifton said.
She also reported that her offi ce has added more than 400 veterans to its outreach service since she took the position in 2014. Three commissioners thanked Clifton for her service to the county, and said they receive many compliments about the work of her and others in the Veterans Service Offi ce.
“I don’t know where all your new vets are coming from, but it’s a sign that veteran’s services is up and running and healthy and doing your job,” Zander said.
Commissioners Bucky Wolf and Jay Elkin echoed his comments. “It’s outstanding,” Wolf said. “A lot of the veterans I’ve visited with are happy about the service you’ve extended to them.”