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Roof project highlights need for county facilities plan

GENEVA – Kane County leaders need to better determine what they want to do regarding facility improvements.

That was the message from Administration Committee Chairman Ron Ford, D-Aurora, Thursday after the group decided to switch directions on a roofing project for a county building in downtown Geneva.

Staff solicited bids for a roof replacement project for 401 Campbell St. in Geneva – a 1970s building just yards away from the Kane County Courthouse that is used as office space.

The lowest bid – $59,850 – was presented to the committee last month, but the committee held the item for a month.

County Board member Phil Lewis, R-St. Charles, said he was glad for the extra 30 days because he was able to tour the building, which, he said, “is definitely in need of work.”

Instead of replacing the roof, Lewis suggested the county hire an architectural firm to do a cost-benefit analysis of remodeling the one-story structure, possibly with a second story.

“That would be great if we had the money to do that,” said board member Theresa Barreiro, D-Aurora. “Just last month, we were worried about $60,000, and now you want to redo the whole building.”

Board member Drew Frasz, R-Elburn, agreed with Lewis in that he wouldn’t want to invest tens of thousands of dollars in a building that might not be around long-term.

He suggested going with a third option of making $9,200 in roof repairs, which would buy the county some time to decide.

The committee directed staff to pursue that option after a motion to accept the nearly $60,000 bid failed, 3-2.

At some point, Ford said, board members need to figure out the improvements to the county buildings so employees’ time won’t be wasted in soliciting bids for projects that won’t be pursued.

“I believe we need to get more ahead of the game,” he said.

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