Three county facilities to receive upgrade

Last fall the Benton County Board of Commissioners approved a proposal to begin the remodel process on three county facilities: Public Service Building on 27th Street; Avery Building on Avery Avenue; and, the Sunset Building on Research Way. All remodel projects will be completed using internal funds, a federal Health Resources and Services Administration grant, and long-term financing over the next three years.

“Work facility challenges have led to staff creativity on solving our space needs through rehabilitation and renovation of current facilities,” said Annabelle Jaramillo, Benton County commissioner.

Beginning last month and lasting through April, the county is renovating 5,000 square feet of currently vacant space at the Sunset Building. Crews will add and remove walls, replace carpet, adjust lighting and add new cubicles provided at no cost from Hewlett-Packard.

The Sunset Building renovation work will be completed at a cost of under $150,000.

This renovated space will be temporarily used by the Community Development staff from June to December 2017, and ultimately permanently used by the Public Health and Health Department Administration staff beginning in January 2018.

Construction at the Avery Building will begin in June, once Community Development staff makes the temporary move to the Sunset Building.

The Avery Building will undergo drastic renovation to add approximately 5,000 square feet of space as a partial second floor to accommodate space needs within the Community Development, Natural Areas and Parks, and Public Works departments. The additional space is estimated to be able to house these departments for the next 15-20 years.

The renovated Avery Building will feature a new self-help center for the public, interior and exterior painting, new carpet and bathroom updates. The Avery Building renovations will be completed in December at a cost less than $2 million.

Once Avery Building construction is completed, Community Development staff will vacate the renovated space at the Sunset Building and Public Health and Health Department Administration will move permanently from the Public Services Building on 27th Street to the Sunset Building on Research Way. This move is estimated to occur in January 2018.

“We had to be quite innovative in planning because we have limited funds and significant space needs. We didn’t want to sacrifice employee comfort or become poor stewards of county funds, but we had to find a way to create solutions,” said Josh Wheeler, Public Works director.

“This has resulted in a bit of ‘musical chairs’ for county departments, but we’ve found a mechanism to make this work.”

Beginning in 2018, the Public Services Building will be renovated to be used solely for the Benton Health Center and mental health services. The remodel will expand the Benton Health Center to the complete building footprint at an estimated cost of $7.6 million. This replaces a planned brand-new health building projected to cost between $12 and $14 million.

Renovation of the Public Services Building will make better use of space, move the lobby area to a central location and improve environmental conditions within the building.

The focal point of the renovation will be the new main entrance and centralized reception area where patients can access all services from the entrance. A separate waiting room for mental health services and space for dental services has been allocated. The exterior will undergo renovation allowing for much-needed modernization.

The new Benton Health Center is expected to be completed in January 2019.

For more information about the building improvements, contact Josh Wheeler at 541-766-6821 or