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Sedgwick County Narrows Options For Future Location Of Administrative Offices

Hugo Phan
KMUW/File photo
Sedgwick County commissioners are considering three options for the future location of government offices.

Sedgwick County commissioners put off making a decision about the future location for county government offices in Wichita for at least two weeks, but at Wednesday’s meeting, they did narrow down six options to three finalists.

The commissioners say they want more time for discussion and public input through the county website.

The three options under review include buying and renovating buildings at North Riverview or North Main, or constructing a new four- or five-story building next to the Sedgwick County Courthouse.

Commission Chairman David Dennis said Wednesday he has concerns with the Riverview Building.

"My position is, the right thing to do with Sedgwick County citizens is to do the courthouse addition with a fifth floor," Dennis said.

Commissioners Dave Unruh and Michael O’Donnell also support building a new facility. Commissioners Jim Howell and Richard Ranzau want to purchase a building at Riverview.

"The reality is we have an option to save taxpayer dollars on the front end," Howell said. "So I guess for me, my priorities are cost and of course quality, and I think we have those two with the Riverview building."

Ranzau said the Riverview building is the most cost-effective option that meets the county’s current and future space needs.

The county wants to move departments out of the courthouse to free up space for the district attorney’s office and district court system.

The commissioners voted to remove proposals for the Murfin Plaza building, Epic Tower and land at Third and Main Street from further consideration.

The Riverview building is located at 345 N. Riverview. The total cost for the purchase, repairs and remodel is $16 million to $18 million.

A proposal for the building at 150 N. Main puts the cost at about $16 million to $17.5 million. County leaders say this option came late in the process, and more time is needed to review building details.

County leaders estimate building a new government center next to the courthouse would cost $18 million to $21 million, and would include renovations to the courthouse.

"I just believe that whatever decision we make needs to be a decision that works for Sedgwick County for the next 50 years," Dennis said.

Several elected county officials spoke at Wednesday’s meeting in favor of building a new administrative office building next to the courthouse.

The commissioners are expected to take up the issue again at their June 6 meeting.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.