County prepping for office remodel, vehicle replacements, road improvements


Cascade County is seeking requests for qualifications for architectural services for the remodel of the office building at 121 4th St. N.

The building houses the planning division, county attorney’s office, treasurer/superintendent of schools, clerk and recorder and accounting.

The building is a condo association and the county has been acquiring property within the building over the years. The county is currently negotiating on the Banik space and once that’s finalized, the county will own all spaces in the building but one, which is a dentist office, said Brian Clifton, county public works director. The Banik space is an estimated $350,000, according to county budget documents.

Proposals are due Jan. 31 and from there, the county will select an architect and go over the scope of the project and ideas from staffers in the building on their needs.

The property was once the home of the Great Falls Tribune and since its original construction, two additions were added to the building, Clifton said. That created a haphazard layout of the building, false walls, stairways to nowhere and an otherwise inefficient space.

The plan is to have the architect design a complete remodel of the building to improve the layout and efficiency of space, since the county consistency has office space constraints, Clifton said.

Construction on the remodel would start at the earliest this fall, but more likely next year and Clifton said the remodel would be factored into the next budget, which would be approved this fall.

The county is also accepting bids for a sheriff cruiser SUV, small SUV, 4 by 4 three-quarter ton extended cab with an eight foot box and a 4 by 4 one ton dually cab and chassis.

Bids are due by Feb. 1 and must include trade in values for five sheriff vehicles, four 2004 one ton flatbeds and five other vehicles.

The new vehicles are part of the county’s fleet replacement plan. A chart takes up most of a hall wall with each light-duty vehicle in the fleet and information about mileage and maintenance costs. They try to rotate vehicles every 10-12 years or 100,000 to 125,000 miles, Clifton said, to lower maintenance costs.

The plan replaces five sheriff’s vehicles every year on a six-year rotation, Clifton said.

The Cascade County Public Works department recently completed its annual report, which is presented to the County Commission.

The report covers roads, wind power, water stations, communications, fleet maintenance, planning and more.

The county maintains 850 miles of gravel roads and 160 miles of paved roads. The county is divided into nine maintenance areas.

The county recently completed the improvements to Fox Farm Road, as well as Dune, Fawn, Hawk and Highwood Drives and Dick Road.

Montana Department of Transportation recently awarded a contract for improvements on Fox Farm Drive from Dick Road back into the city limits. That is an urban transportation project, so MDT runs the project then hands it back to the county for maintenance, Clifton said.

Proposed road projcets for 2018 include 34 miles of gravel roads for an estimated $753,000. The roads identified for improvement include Fields, Goon Hill, West Eden, South Eden, East Eden, Eden, Goodwyn Coulee and Boston Coulee.

About 9.84 miles are proposed for asphalt and or chip seal improvements for an estimated $726,000. Those roads include 40th Avenue South, 49th Street Southwest, 58th Street Southwest, 62nd Avenue Southwest, 66th Street Southwest and 47th Street Southwest for asphalt. Chip seal is planned for a portion of Fields, Powerline and Wiremill roads.