WORTHINGTON — Construction projects at the Nobles County Government Center and Prairie Justice Center will be advertised for bids following action by county commissioners on Tuesday.

The projects include final construction and completion of a new data center within the old jail at the Government Center in downtown Worthington, as well as upgrading Courtroom C at the PJC to include a bench for the judge and staff, a six-person jury box and a defined gallery for public seating.

A second project at the PJC involves replacing the sidewalk at the main entrance with a heated sidewalk. This project was previously advertised, but the lone bid was above the engineer’s estimate for the work. The timeline for completion was tweaked in hopes of getting more reasonable bids.

With the data center project, demolition and safety improvements have been made, and the next step will be to create office space, a training room and restrooms. Once completed, the data center will house the county’s information technology department as well as IT systems.

“We should have the final design (from Doom & Cuypers) in the next day or two and be ready to bid,” said County Administrator Tom Johnson.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved an application to the Nobles Home Initiative from Brandon and Lynsey Croat for five-year tax abatement on construction of a new home on their property at 22371 Fellows Ave., Rushmore.

  • Declared a 2008 Sterling LT9500 from the county’s public works department as surplus property to be sold.

  • Adopted a resolution prioritizing a bridge on Nobles County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 15, three-fourths of a mile south of CSAH 16, to be eligible for approximately $60,000 in state bridge bond funding. Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder said the bridge is failing and needs to be replaced. It's not currently posted to restrict loading, he added.

Plans are to replace the existing arch culvert with a precast concrete box culvert.

  • Directed Schnieder to draft a policy to allow restaurants and bars to offer outdoor seating on the road right-of-way. It isn’t known if there’s interest among restaurants and bars within the county to provide seating in the right-of-way, but Schnieder suggested having a policy in the event there is a request. He will draft a policy based on one he received from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and bring it back to county commissioners at their June 23 meeting for consideration.

  • Approved signing the Des Moines River One Watershed, One Plan memorandum of agreement as the process continues to develop one plan for the multi-county watershed.

  • Approved a maintenance project on JD 8, land owned by Matt Widboom, with Widboom recusing himself from discussion and the vote. Nobles County Ditch Systems Coordinator Brad Harberts said the Nobles Soil and Water Conservation District will lead the work, which includes locating the county tile on the property and recreating the grass waterway. Since tile sizes are not being altered, the county’s legal counsel said the work amounted to a repair, not an improvement.