‘It’s very far along’: New $4.8M Liberty Twp. administration center moving quickly

The new Liberty Twp. administration and sheriff’s outpost under construction on Ohio 747 is on target and still estimated to be a money-saver, officials said.

The township broke ground earlier this year on the $3.8 million, 15,000-square-foot building, with the land costing $954,000. The total project is $400,000 under the $5.2 million original estimate. Township Administrator Kristen Bitonte said the project is on budget and still set to open next summer.

“It’s very far along,” Trustee Board President Steve Schramm said. “We expect heat to be on within about two weeks and it’ll start flying then.”

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.

“It’s going to be a beautiful facility but not an exorbitant facility. I think we are maximizing our dollars on a very effective and efficient facility without getting too extravagant, making us look like we’re rich, which we’re not,” Schramm said previously. “I believe it’s a great use of dollars.”

Schramm said officials are spending more than they were before housing township offices, but when the bonds are paid off in 20 years, they will have 30-plus years without rent or mortgage payments.

“So when the note is paid off, now it’s free,” he said. “I think it’s a very smart decision long-term.”

RELATED: How Liberty Twp. is saving $400K on its new government building project

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. Officials considered 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.

Trustee Tom Farrell said the township is transferring furnishings from the current offices and the sound system and TV screens from the meeting space, so it will not cost much to open up shop once the building is complete.

“I’m very happy, I think everybody has been very frugal, we’re trying to build a building that is functional but not over the top,” Farrell said.

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