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County approves consultant for potential public safety building

MONTESANO —The Grays Harbor County Commissioners have tapped KMB Design Groups out of Olympia to help guide the process that could lead to a new public safety building constructed on the county campus at Montesano.

The design group helped do a similar study back in 2001. That study along with one done in 1996 will be looked at to provide material for the county’s needs. The project is still getting off the ground but stems from a settlement reached between the judges and the county commissioners over where a potential third courtroom could go on the county campus.

Currently, the judges will occasionally use the empty chambers of the county commissioners when the commissioners are not in session.

Besides the issue of the third courtroom, the design firm will look at the potential of bringing the Juvenile Detention Facility up from Junction City to the county campus in Montesano, making upgrades to the current county jail and look at other public safety needs.

County Commissioner Frank Gordon said that two other firms responded to the county’s request for proposals, but KMB Design Groups were chosen because of their experience level and that they had an architectural firm in Olympia. The other architects were located out of state, Gordon said.

The county has allocated $20,000 to do the study, which was appropriated a year ago as part of the lawsuit settlement for the judges.

“This isn’t grabbing any new funds,” Gordon said. “This is using the money we have.”

There is the potential that the county may go to the voters and request funds for a capital levy or bond, but that would be down the road.

“We need to figure out our footprint and finalize our needs first,” Gordon said.