Progress reported on Exhibition Building




Much of the interior renovations to the Exhibition Building at the Finney County Fairgrounds are finished, and work is proceeding now on exterior portions of the building, the project architect told the Finney County Commission Monday night.

"We are making progress, despite the weather and some of the events at the Exhibition Building," Architect Blaine Davis said.

Davis said "the latest little stumbling block" on Monday was workers had to work around a non-operational bus owned by a band that performed at the building over the weekend.

"Their bus wouldn't start, and it was parked right in front of the door on the east side where they were trying to work," he said.

However, Davis said, work is progressing on the east addition and should be done this week, and work also has started on the south side of the building exterior. He didn't provide an anticipated completion date to commissioners.

The county awarded the bid for the project in July 2013 to Dick Construction for $737,363. Work started on the interior in November to improve the circulation fans, lighting, insulation and renovate the serving kitchen. Outside work involves demolition of the south canopy and construction of a new south entry vestibule and canopy, renovating doors and openings, and creating an east side storage area and vestibule.

The commission also is considering changing the wheelchair ramp on the south side to add level stopping areas instead of the current design of one long incline.

"That's over 60 feet, going uphill," Commissioner Dave Jones said. "If you'd been down there at the gun show and watched some of those folks try to get around ... you'd say let's build a place where they can stop and catch their breath."

Davis said the current design meets ADA code requirements, but he can bring back costs for the commission to make an educated decision at its next meeting.

The commission will discuss the ramp changes and cost at next Monday's meeting.

Overall, commissioners indicated the lighting, acoustics, and air circulation are much improved.

"So far, I'm hearing good reports on things," Davis said. "I think the ultimate test might be the community college endowment auction to see how the sound system works. I do believe our insulation package has changed the acoustics in there considerably."

In other business Monday:

* The commission voted to change back to meeting at 8:30 a.m. the first Monday of the month. For the past six months, the commission met at 6 p.m. on the first Monday to see if more members of the public would attend. Except for the first meeting, the night meetings were not well attended.

"Personally, I don't think it's changed our attendance," Commissioner Larry Jones said.

Commissioner Cliff Mayo said it looks like people who have issues the commission needs to act on will come to the meetings, whether it's in the evening or the morning.

* Commissioners approved an amendment to the sign ordinance that allows signs up to 450 square feet in the county and allows electronic message boards to be a permitted type of off-site sign.

Garden City and Holcomb approved the same amendment in the past few weeks.

The ordinance allows large, off-site signs to be placed in the county 500 feet from the city limits.

Off-site advertising signs up to 64 square feet in size are only allowed in commercial and industrial districts inside the city limits.

Other components of the amendment include:

Off-site signs larger than 64 square feet will not be allowed within city limits; can be no closer than a quarter-mile from another pole or pylon sign; and no closer than 500 feet from any intersection. Off-site advertising can't be closer than 100 feet from buildings or within 500 feet of residentially zoned land.

Updated regulations on electronic message boards included limits on brightness and size. On-site signs can be as large as 80 square feet and off-site signs as large as 450 square feet. To allow for different configurations, landscaping requirements were changed from a five-foot radius to an 80-square-foot area around the sign.

* At the request of 25th Judicial District Youth Services, commissioners authorized signing an application for Prevention Program supplemental funding to the State Juvenile Services Division of the Kansas Department of Corrections.

The supplement asks the state for $7,028 to upgrade computer equipment used by prevention staff, and update prevention materials used in drug and alcohol prevention classes and training. There is no cost to the county.

* Katrina Pollet, juvenile detention center director, said for the third year in a row the JDC received a 100 percent on its KDHE annual audit. There are 38 pages of standards, and JDC met 100 percent.

There were two "consultations," she said, which are errors, but were corrected quickly in a matter of minutes. One was for a missing health assessment that had been misfiled, and a volunteer's background check sent in by email that just needed to be printed out and put in a file.

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