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Government Center work begins today

WORTHINGTON — Construction crews will begin work today inside the Nobles County Government Center, with plans to replace the restroom facilities on each of the three levels and upgrade the elevator systems in both wings of the building.

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The work rounds out the final upgrades in what was to have been a three-year capital improvement project. As work has moved ahead of schedule, it’s expected all of the upgrades will be completed by late February.

The bid for the latest projects to be completed was awarded to Marshall-based Doom & Cuypers Construction, Inc., at a cost of $1,013,135.

The restroom and elevator projects will be the first visible-to-the-public changes in this year’s work order.

“The Government Center was converted from steam heating to high efficiency hot water heating … last year,” said Nobles County Deputy Administrator Sue Luing. “Now, the entire building will be controlled by a computer-based direct digital control system that will save energy by optimizing the performance of the HVAC system.”

In recent years, controlling the temperature inside the 40-year-old building has been a challenge. The inability to regulate the temperature left people in some offices too cold, while others were too hot.

Luing said the system isn’t completely functional yet — zone dampers original to the building need to be replaced in the ceilings, and the computer-based control system isn’t quite ready to go.

Replacement of ceiling tiles and electrical work are also included in the final phase of the building’s upgrades. Electrical work will include the installation of energy efficient light controls throughout the building. Luing said the county is working with Worthington Public Utilities to get rebates for some of the energy conservation strategies it has chosen to implement.

“The contractors are going to start a lot of their projects at the end of the work day or on the weekend to avoid as much disruption to the work area as possible,” Luing said.

Work will begin today on the first floor restrooms, which have not been updated since the building was constructed.

To bring the restrooms on all three floors up to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, the restrooms will be converted from three stalls to two, with all new plumbing, light fixtures and sinks installed.

Once the first floor restroom is completed — a project slated to take six weeks — contractors will move to the second floor and then the third. The work on those two floors is estimated to take four weeks each.

The greatest disruption to the public will be the closure of the 10th Street wing elevator during its upgrade. At this time, Luing said the plan is to relocate the Veterans Service Office and a portion of Public Health to the second floor to accommodate the public. Work on the elevator is slated to start in late October.

“This is the first time that we’re doing some major (improvements),” Luing said, adding that last year’s projects included new carpeting on the second floor and new windows throughout the Government Center last year.

As the work progresses at the Government Center, the Prairie Justice Center will also get some upgrades — mainly to improve energy efficiency by updating the lighting system.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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