WALKER - Cass County commissioners gave Wold Architects and Engineers instructions Tuesday to begin the planning process toward a county campus away from downtown Walker.
The most likely site would be the Ah-Gwah-Ching campus, but the state of Minnesota passed yet another deadline Jan. 1 to inform the county when the state will cease using the site.
Until that is known, the county has not wanted to set a date to purchase the property.
The commissioners told Wold representative Paul Aplikowski they want to set "green construction" as a priority, emphasizing innovative ways to make the building(s) energy-efficient. Solar and wind energy were mentioned along with energy-saving measures for operating the buildings once they open.
Commissioner Jim Demgen also emphasized his desire to see extra spaces provided inside the buildings for future expansion, though Aplikowski said the county might think the price tag could be higher than the county is comfortable with at this point.
Adding onto buildings later can be much higher priced, Demgen suggested. Plan for 20 years without additions, he said.
When Aplikowski asked the board whether they prefer one level or multi-level buildings, Demgen said any multi-floor construction should include elevators large enough to accommodate moving large maintenance and replacement equipment easily between floors.
The first phase is expected to be a courts complex, including new courtrooms, the county attorney's office, probation, court administration and a building and grounds service area.
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