County gets first glimpse at plans to convert hospital
Milam County Commissioners and county employees got their first look at a draft of blueprints for the potential move to the old Little River Hospital Building during the July 8 Commissioners Court meeting.
Architect Stan Graves and Milam County Judge Steve Young presented two different drafts – one with the appraisal district included and one without.
There is space in the plans for Bea’s Kitchen, Juvenile Probation, the District Attorney’s Office, Adult Probation, the Milam County Extension Office, County Tax Assessor’s Office, County Clerk’s Office, as well as the County Treasurer and Auditor, the HOP office, and County Constables in the hospital building.
“This does not include the health department,” Young said. “That will be put in the old convent because their job is so different from the other more administrative positions.”
There will be some additional space left in the old convent for growth.
Graves told commissioners that they tried to give each department what they requested but it was a tight squeeze for some to be able to fit everyone in.
Young said he and Graves met with each department head to determine what was needed for each before drawing the plans. They will again meet with department heads to discuss the drawings.
“The bottom line is every department right now has more space than they need because they don’t have things like shared restrooms and shared conference rooms,” Graves said. “So taking them all down to one or two buildings there is a bunch of efficiency in that, but this is smaller than all those buildings put together.”
Graves said there are lots of good things about the building that will make it useful.
The plans include shared conference spaces and a central calling system for the county.
Commissioner Donald Shuffield asked if there would be any room for future growth with these plans.
“What happens in the future when we may grow and need to put those positions we have eliminated back into service,” Shuffield said.
Graves said there is some extra space in the old convent building, but that new construction would probably be needed in the future and if needed a department can be moved somewhere else.
Graves said they are still working on plans for the old convent but haven’t had time to get to that.
Milam County Extension Agent Micah Holcombe said the Extension Office would gladly move to the convent with the Health Department because there would be more space for them over there.
Commissioners also approved a public nuisance abatement. This is the interlocal agreement with the City of Rockdale regarding the enforcement of the Texas Health and Safety Law and the ordinances of Rockdale by Milam County and vice versa.
Rockdale City Manager Chris Whitaker spoke during public comments about the need for the interlocal agreement.
“We appreciate the county partnering with us to take care of the Thrasher property,” Whitaker said. “We have been working on this for a few years. I appreciate your support.”
Young also discussed economic development in Milam County saying that Sam Hales and the Saratoga Group have purchased the Sherwood Forest in Rockdale and plans to haul off the Mobile homes that are currently located there and will build modular homes with the intent to sell.
In other business commissioners also: presented a distinguished service award from the State of Texas to the Milam County Historical Commission; approved a resolution authorizing the submission of the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Fund; approved the new required rules of procedure, conduct and decorum for Commissioners Court; and tabled the mass gathering permit request from Lightfest.