VIRGINIA CITY – At their regular weekly meeting in Virginia City on Tuesday, Madison County Commissioners met with representatives from ThinkOne Architects in Bozeman to discuss rough sketches of preliminary blueprints for the Madison County Annex office building and courthouse renovation.
ThinkOne president Bill Hanson presented the Board with a series of conceptual bubble diagrams to illustrate the proposed layout of the approximately 15,000 square foot building.
“We had two separate meetings with different staff groups to talk about square footage needs,” Hanson said. “What we really did is use the information that we had prepared before and just kind of validated things.”
The initial design of the proposed county annex allows for various county offices to be housed on three different levels. For example, the lower level of the building would be used primarily for archival storage as well as offices for facility maintenance personnel and the county sanitarian. The lower level would also hold a break room and a room to support mechanical and electrical systems.
The middle level of the proposed building would hold offices for the county commissioners, clerk and recorder, treasurer and motor vehicle division as well as a large public meeting room. Hanson explained that at this point in the design stage his firm is working to maximize efficiency for the different county offices the building will hold. For example, the commissioner’s offices would be located in in close proximity to conference rooms because of how often they hold public meetings.
“We felt that connectivity from the commissioners office right in to the public meeting room made sense,” Hanson said. “So you could come from your work area and enter this without necessarily having to travel through the building.”
The county’s need for a large public meeting room was strongly considered when designing the building to maximize the flow of human traffic in and out of the building.
“The idea would be that it could be used when the building isn’t otherwise used,” Hanson said. “If you had a public event you could spill outside and use that inside / outside space.”
Also during Tuesday’s meeting the Board carried a motion to allow Madison County information technology director Karen Brown to purchase a new mobile mapping GPS unit. The county’s current GPS system was purchased between 2004 and 2005, and while it works sporadically it needs to be replaced, Brown said.
The new unit, called the Mobile Mapper 10 and manufactured by Ashtech, will cost less than $1,500 with the necessary software, adaptor and exterior antennae, and the product description claims the device is accurate to within less than two-meters.
“This will be way easier to operate,” Brown said of the GPS unit.
Commissioner Dan Happel expressed interest allowing county road crews to also take advantage of the new technology.
“If we can figure out a way to get all of our road stuff on the map, and get all the locations of all the improvements – what an asset,” Happel said.
“That way, if we get a plugged culvert somewhere or something like that, we can just punch it in and know exactly where it is,” he continued. “It would just be dynamite to have that capability.”