Archive for Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Leavenworth County Annex opens in Tonganoxie

January 5, 2016

A new, more spacious Leavenworth County Annex is up and running in Tonganoxie.

The building had its first day of operations Monday, but several county officials were on hand Wednesday, Dec. 30, for an open house at the 100,000-square-foot facility.

The facility is home to satellite space for the treasurer’s office and sheriff’s office, as was the former annex. But it also provides for expanded Emergency Management and opportunities for the county clerk’s office at the new annex building, 725 Laming Road.

At the former annex, just up the road to the south on Laming Road, the sheriff’s office had space in the basement, but it wasn’t the most ideal situation for security reasons, according to county officials.

The new building has a Sally port, two offices, two interview rooms and a breath/alcohol room.

Sheriff Andy Dedeke said the new space helps law enforcement officers better serve residents in the southern portion of the county.

“We’re very excited for this opportunity,” Dedeke siad.

The treasurer’s office was the main draw for residents at the former annex. Residents paid for such things as license plate renewals, property taxes and driver’s licenses, services also available at the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

The new space has five sit-down stations where customers can meet with treasurer’s office employees. Glass divides the public area from the employee offices with expanded seating for customers as they wait to be served.

A community room allows for meeting space, but it’s also equipped to be an emergency command center in the case of a natural disaster or other emergency situations. Leavenworth County Emergency Management Director Chuck Magaha said the the room’s walls are 8 inches thick instead of the standard 4 inches so that it can serve as a safe room.

The mobile Communications on Wheels trailer now is stored in the building. Previously, a tarp covered the emergency equipment that measures 53 feet from the trailer’s front to rear. A tower on the trailer can expand to 105 feet when used outside as an emergency communication station.

The community room likely could see a plethora of uses.

County Clerk Janet Klasinski envisions the community room being used for satellite voting for southern Leavenworth County voters when election season rolls around.

As Commissioner Dennis Bixby of Tonganoxie noted, the former annex will be repurposed to expand Emergency Medical Services. An extra ambulance bay is planned within the building with the departure of other departments.

Commissioner Clyde Graeber praised fellow Commissioner Bob Holland for seeking out the building as a possible new home for the annex. The building formerly was home to McNeely Steel and Supply. Before that, it was Everlasting Specialties. Before McNeely Steel moved in, there were serious talks of the Tonganoxie Police Department repurposing the building, but discussions with Everlasting Specialties eventually came to an impasse.

Holland represents the northern portion of the county, including Easton.

“I think it is just great for Tonganoxie,” Holland said of the new annex.

As was the case with the former annex, the new building offers residents the opportunity to take care of county business without making the trip to Leavenworth. Holland sees the continued opportunity for people to visit the annex and then decide to stay awhile in Tonganoxie for services such as a trip to the grocery store or a visit to local restaurants.

The new annex cost just under $1 million for building purchase and renovations.

The Leavenworth County Annex’s hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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