‘We finally get our home’: Liberty Twp. close to moving into new headquarters

Liberty Twp. staff and deputies are preparing to move in less than month as the $4.8 million administrative center and sheriff’s outpost is almost complete.

“We finally get our home,” Trustee Board President Christine Matacic said of the new complex.

The project’s cost including land purchase is about $4.8 million, below the estimate of $5.2 million. The township paid $954,000 for the land in an office park on Ohio 747 between Princeton and Millikin roads for the 15,000-square-foot building two years ago. Taxpayer-backed bonds are funding the building.

Trustee Tom Farrell said costs are on target, despite financial issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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“The developer did a great job in my opinion through all of this coronavirus, keeping his employees safe but continuing to complete the building,” Farrell said. “We are on time and on or below budget. So everything seems good and we’re pretty excited to move in and start the next chapter in Liberty’s future.”

Trustees opted to move most of the furniture and equipment from the current location but also needed some new, since the new facility is much larger and they needed to upgrade some technology. The trustees approved $57,000 for new purchases in April.

In the township where the population has quadrupled over the past two decades to around 40,000, and with future growth expected, trustees embarked on a facilities plan in 2016.

The path of the $13 million facilities plan has taken a few unexpected turns. Trustees considered purchasing the building where they reside now on Liberty Centre Drive. They thought they could put the monthly $8,035 lease payments toward an outright purchase when the five-year lease was up, but that deal didn’t materialize.

The next plan was using property the township already owns and at which it holds its meetings on Princeton Road for the new administration building, but clearing site would have cost an estimated $1.8 million.

So the trustees struck a deal with Carriage Hill for the brand new location. The plan is to move into the new location July 8 and officials expect little disruption in services.

The township is also in the midst of building a new fire station on Princeton Road at Cincinnati Dayton Road and renovating two others. The township is replacing the “pole barn” station on Yankee Road that was built mostly for a volunteer department, not an all-day, every-day fire and EMS staff. The other two stations are undergoing renovations to the sleeping quarters and other areas.

The renovations are about a quarter of the way to completion by year’s end and the new station is expected open next spring.

The building projects were estimated at $5.7 million and came in $500,000 less. The more centrally located fire station is expected to improve response times and cut costs by as much as $4 million. Trustees estimated a $2 to $3 million savings by building one station instead of two.

Another estimated $1 million savings will be realized with the decision not to move headquarters to the new building. Trustee Board President Steve Schramm said previously the new building’s footprint would have needed to expand to accommodate headquarters, but space is available in existing facilities.

These projects complete the facilities plan.

“The fire station should be the last one for quite a while,” Schramm said. “Unless we have some unusual reaction at Millikin Road or something that would boost construction up in our northern wing. But we should be pretty status quo on our buildings for quite a while, just managing operational costs going forward.”

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