Improvement projects at human service center

By Peter Bodley
Contributing Writer

Improvements to the fourth floor of the Anoka County Human Service Center in Blaine will take place this year.

The Anoka County Board March 7 issued purchase orders to Home Depot through the Anoka County U.S. Communities contract for projects that include replacing carpeting and wall covering totaling $273,888 plus reconfiguration of the fourth-floor reception and service area at a cost of $145,964.

According to Andrew Dykstra, facilities management and construction director, carpeting and wall covering are about 27 years old, badly stained, delaminating and need to be replaced.

In addition, the fourth-floor reception area is also in need of a remodel because the current space is too small to deal with the increase in client traffic – the county’s economic assistance department has added staff and programs that have dramatically increased traffic flow and the reception area is also used by the job training center and child care assistance, Dykstra told the board.

The remodel will increase the size of the reception area as well as the visibility of reception area staff, which will aid in client orientation and also boost safety for both county staff and clients, he said.

The project will also include some heating and air conditioning work and provision of card readers.

“The reception area has poor sight lines right now,” said Commissioner Matt Look, who chairs the board’s Finance and Capital Improvements Committee, which recommended approval of the purchase ordered.

Work will take place over the summer and be completed by the end of summer, Dykstra said.

It will be scheduled to minimize inconvenience to county staff and clients, he said.

The U.S. Communities contract is a master contract that the county has entered into to save money through economies of scale, according to Dykstra.

Funding will come from various county accounts, including human services and economic assistance budgets and the human service center reserve fund, Dykstra said.

Some federal money received by the county will also be used for improvements, Look said.

This is the start of an ongoing series of improvement projects at the human service center with the third, second and first floors to be scheduled in the years to come, according to Dykstra.

The finance and capital improvements committee and staff have “done a fine job” keeping up with county infrastructure needs over the years, said Commissioner Jim Kordiak.

“When I came on the board there was significant work to do in this area and we have been chipping away,” Look said. “It gives me a sense of satisfaction.”
Dykstra has done a “fantastic job,” he said.