FORT EDWARD — Washington County intends to move several departments and employees from annex locations to a Hudson Falls school district building the county will purchase, pending voter approval Tuesday.
The move would set in motion a multi-stage county project designed to eventually create additional parking at the county office building in Fort Edward.
“If approved on May 21, we will move departments and employees from the annex to the Burgoyne Avenue property,” County Administrator Chris DeBolt said, adding that as part of the plan, the county would also eventually demolish the current Department of Public Works shop.
Earlier this month, the Hudson Falls Central School District school board approved the Washington County Board of Supervisors’ $275,000 offer to purchase the 28,000-square-foot building situated on nearly 10 acres at 1153 Burgoyne Ave., in Fort Edward.
On Tuesday, Hudson Falls school district voters will decide if plans tied to the property’s sale can proceed.
School Superintendent Linda Goewey said the district offices are currently located in half of the Burgoyne Avenue building and the other half is leased to the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES.
“We are going to move (offices) into a school so we do not have to build or rent,” Goewey said on Wednesday morning. “We’ve done walk-throughs of five schools. Three elementary schools are packed. But we found space in both the middle school and the high school. We are still analyzing the best location for minimal upset to the school and students.”
BOCES will remain in the Burgoyne Avenue building for the duration of its lease, which ends next year, Goewey said.
“After that, it will be up to BOCES if they renew their lease,” she said.
The decision to honor the BOCES lease will not affect or stall county plans, DeBolt said, adding that the county is aware of BOCES’ situation.
Officials said they plan to demolish the DPW shop, located just off the parking lot at the county office building near the Department of Motor Vehicles, because it is no longer adequate.
“The current shop is quite old and too small,” DeBolt said, adding it was built in the 1930s. “It needs a new boiler and a new roof. It was built when the DPW had smaller, 1- or 2-ton trucks. Our trucks now have a capacity of 36 tons.”
Nonetheless, before demolition is possible, the county must first build a new, larger shop for the care and maintenance of DPW vehicles and equipment and that will take Board of Supervisors’ approval for the expense, DeBolt said.
As the first phase of the long-term plan, employees in annex buildings at 411 and 415 Main St., would move into the Burgoyne Avenue location to make way for the new DPW shop, said DeBolt.
“We are looking to vacate Annex I and Annex II,” he said. “They currently house Code Enforcement, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Weights and Measures, Public Health and WIC.”
And once the new DPW shop is built and the existing building razed, parking woes at the county building might be lessened.
“We are still early in the planning process. But the current thinking is that the location of the current DPW shop would become parking,” DeBolt said. “We are still developing short-term and long-term plans for what services and departments will be located at the Burgoyne Avenue building.”