Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

August 14, 2013

Health department ready to move into old jail

Commissioners repair vacated building to make space in courthouse.

By Carson Gerber
MC Weekly

---- — PERU — The Miami County Health Department is getting ready to move from the courthouse into the old county jail as renovations to the building's first floor near completion.

Commissioners began repairing the first floor of the old jail earlier this year. Officials vacated the old building, at the corner of 5th and Court streets, four years ago after the new jail was constructed in 2009.Commissioner Jerry Hamman said repairs are nearly complete, including plumbing, electrical and ceiling upgrades. He said the last major step is to purchase a new heating and cooling system for the first floor, along with a new water heater.Hamman said the building’s basement contained a boiler and heater, but they were in disrepair after sitting unused for over four years.“It’d cost a ton of money to try to get them up and running,” he said. “The cheapest thing is to install a separate unit for the health department.”Health department officials said they plan to move into the building by the second week of September.“They’re excited about moving over there,” Hamman said. “They’re going to have so much more room, and it will be a lot nicer.”Once the transition is complete, commissioners said they will discuss using the extra space in the courthouse to reorganize where departments are located inside the building.“We have some departments who don’t have enough space, and some who have too much,” said Commissioner Josh Francis. “We’re going to try to make the courthouse a little more efficient.”The old jail building was built in 1982, and replaced the previous jail, which had been in use since 1899, according to officials at the sheriff’s office. The county information technology department is currently located on the second floor of the building.Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.