UPDATE: Washington County commissioners approve relocation of several departments

Published: Aug. 15, 2019 at 6:23 PM EDT
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UPDATE 9/3/19

After months of studies and proposals, the Washington County commission finally settled on a plan to restructure county departments into three main campuses.

"This is something that needed to be done over the years," county commissioner Ron Feathers said.

Feathers described this as the beginning of the end of a long process after the commission finally agreed on a solution to do a musical chair of sorts with several departments. He says they began exploring this after Job and Family services began its merger with children services earlier this year.

"We had some buildings that were 110 percent occupied, some of them 70 percent occupied," Feathers said, "so there just wasn’t a good allocation of county offices there."

Under the new plan, the board of elections will remain with JFS at 204 Davis Avenue. The Ohio Means Jobs center will move down the street to 202 Davis Avenue. The Ohio State extension and county health department will move to 1115 Gilman Avenue and Family and Children First will move to the old children’s home on Muskingum Drive.

"This is all about maximizing the campus space that the county has," Feethers added, "and right now we will have three major campuses, the one at Davis avenue, the one at Putnam street and the one over here at Gilman."

And Feathers says for any taxpayers worried about the cost of these moves, other than renting a moving truck, most of the costs will be handled internally.

He added while not everyone got exactly what they wanted, no one was left out of this decision and this will help the county in the future.

"We’re really excited about these campus structures," Feathers said, "and how they will unfold not only for future commissioners but for the citizens of Washington county and the service they can get."


Several long-term developments were discussed at Washington County commission Thursday, including updates to the proposed board of elections move as well as a new school resource officer.

The commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding between the Washington County Sheriff’s office and Warren Local Schools. It provides for a full-time school resource officer to work at all of the district’s schools. The officer will be paid for by the school district.

“His duties will include obviously school shooter preparation, training, those sort of things, security at the schools," Major Troy Hawkins said, "and building that rapport with the student body for other crimes such as drug activity, domestic in homes.”

After finishing regular business, commissioner Ron Feathers made a public statement regarding the board of elections. He discussed the findings of a study done by an outside engineering firm for 202 Davis Avenue, the proposed relocation site for the board.

He expressed his disappointment in the findings that say nearly $500,000 in renovations would purportedly need to be made.

"I do not believe this figure is realistic," Feathers said, "and certainly is not in keeping with the board of commissioners collective desire to keep the costs of any move as negligible as possible."

Feathers proposed a different shuffling of agencies to accommodate the board of elections.

The board of elections and Job and Family Services would remain at 204 Davis avenue with JFS as the lead tenant. The rest of JFS will move to 202 Davis. The Ohio State Extension, county health department, and behavioral health board will move to 1115 Gilman ave, current home of JFS. And Family and Children First Council and the board of developmental disabilities will move to the children’s home on Muskingum Drive, the current office of the health department.

Commissioners David White and Kevin Ritter, however, voted to table the motion until next week.

The commission also signed a notice of commencement for landslip repair to begin on county road 42 nearly Stanleyville. There’s been a temporary signal and single lane closure for a year and a half and the repairs are expected to cost over a million dollars.