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County workers on the move as remodel is finished

People will soon have one place to apply for permits when three county departments move back into the Island County Courthouse Annex building by the beginning of October.

The Health Department, Planning and Community Development, and the Public Works Department have been scattered throughout Coupeville for the past year. Construction crews have put the finishing touches on a $2.7 million remodel of the annex.

During the project, workers replaced the heating and air conditioning units, fire suppression systems and electrical systems. They also extended the annex walls six feet on all sides.

Island County Public Works Director Bill Oakes said that the remodel provides more square footage and makes the building more consistent with the architectural character of the county campus. The three county offices are scheduled to move into the building by the end of September and each office will have to close for one day.

With those three offices in a single location, it will provide more convenience for residents needing permits.

"We've built a central permitting counter," Oakes said. It's one place to come for all permitting agencies."

The basement of the annex will still remain the county's Emergency Operations Center and communications equipment still has to be installed as the departments move in. In addition to the annex remodel, workers will also be completing the Veterans Memorial that will be located in front of the Annex.

The completion of the Annex leaves several vacancies throughout Coupeville. The Public Works Department has been working out of several modular buildings next to a park behind the Island County Law and Justice Facility.

Oakes said that two of the modulars were leased and will be returned to its owner. The remaining two, which the county picked up from Navy Surplus, will be sent to the Coupeville Solid Waste Transfer Station and used primarily as storage.

Because the county put the modular buildings on Coupeville park land, Oakes said the county has to negotiate with the town to leave the land in its original condition. He added that it looks like a sports court will be put there.

Planning and Community Development and the Health Department each leased office space on Main Street. Oakes said that each place was leased on a month to month basis and the leases will simply expire when the county vacates the storefront properties.

While county officials are pleased to be moving into the Annex, construction at the county campus will continue. Starting in early 2004 construction crews will break ground on an approximately 20-bed juvenile detention facility that will be placed between the jail and the Fifth Street parking lot.

"That's the last piece of the campus," Oakes said.

Other pieces include the construction of the Island County Law and Justice Facility and the remodel of the administration building.

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