Timing and cost concerns are lingering for Aiken County as it prepares to move thousands of files, supplies and pieces of equipment into its new government center on University Parkway.
The building, which will house more than 200 employees and numerous departments, is expected to be completed by February 2014. But in the meantime, the County must figure out the most timely and cost-effective way to manage a move.
While construction moves forward at the site, Aiken County Councilman Scott Singer anticipates the move could cost “several hundred thousand dollars.”
He hopes Aiken County staff can provide specific information related to the size and cost of switching offices so that Council can budget the move appropriately.
He added that, while there are likely many companies that could “pull off” such a move, there may be a limited number of firms that could actually provide a well-defined, reasonable estimate of the scope and price beforehand.
The County, he said, will need to provide County Council with an assessment either through its own devices or by contracting with a third party that specializes in such consultation.
Councilman Chuck Smith agreed, saying he wanted to get a sense of the cost in addition to how quickly the move could be orchestrated.
“We have to ensure that services continue to flow smoothly for the residents of the county,” Smith said. “We don’t need a dislocation of County government for two weeks and disrupt the lives of the citizens while we’re trying to get moved.”
County Administrator Clay Killian indicated that finding a certain level of expertise will be vital, particularly since the County government offices have been located on Richland Avenue for close to 40 years.
“You’re not moving a six-bedroom house. You’re moving into a 130,000-square-foot building,” Killian said. “We think it would be wise to have the professionals that do this come in and coach us through the process and help us figure out the best way to do it at the least amount of cost.”
He also reiterated Smith’s reasoning, saying he wants to avoid any kind of governmental shutdown during the transition.
“Clearly, because we’re a public operation, with the treasurer’s office, tax assessor’s office and all the things that the public comes to, we need to be able to move with the least disruption to our operation.”
Additionally, he noted the move-in schedule will largely be driven by the building schedule.
“The last thing we need to do is have the building ready in February or March of 2014 and not be able to move in until April. There’s a lot of coordination that needs to go into this, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”