County moves on health, human services complex

FRONT ROYAL — Warren County can move forward on a project to turn an old school into a new home for local agencies.

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to award a contract to Lantz Construction Company of Winchester Inc. to build a new Health and Human Services Complex by renovating the former middle school at 465 W. 15th St. Lantz offered to build the project for $3.98 million — the lowest of five bids submitted. The total project cost of $5.76 million includes expenses for design and engineering work and contingencies.

The renovations will allow the Health Department to move out of its antiquated and inadequate office space on Peyton Street. The county has deemed the Department of Social Services offices at 912 Warren Ave. also inadequate and inaccessible.

County Administrator Douglas Stanley said Wednesday that renovations should be complete by Nov. 1, though the construction schedule has not been set.

The project calls for constructing a new, 1,800-square-foot entrance shared between the two agencies, and to renovate 31,051 square feet, or about 33 percent of the total space in the facility. The county will renovate remaining parts of the former school building to house other agencies on an “as-needed” basis as funds become available.

The board recently awarded a $1.17 million contract to Lantz to reconfigure and expand the parking lot at the former school building to provide enough space for the facility. Work on the parking lot continues. The county is covering the cost of the parking-lot project with funds left over from the construction of the Public Safety Building.

Funding for the renovation and expansion comes from a budget line in the county’s Capital Improvement Program. The county budget includes $250,000 for the project. The county also plans to use about $600,000 left over from the Public Safety Building project.

The county leases the 15th Street property from the School Board. Also at the meeting, supervisors approved 30-year leases that will allow the county to sub-lease space in the facility to the two departments. Based on the terms, the county can expect to collect $5.93 million over the life of the leases. The county will use money it collects in leases from the agencies to cover the remaining cost of the renovation and expansion project.

The county owns the existing Social Services Department building and receives a reimbursement by the agency for certain costs. The county plans to sell the building once the agency moves to the Health and Human Services Complex. The Health Department leases its space on Peyton Street from the private owner.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com