$20M bonds will be used for projects in Lafayette County

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Lafayette County is moving forward with a $20 million bond issuance that will fund several projects, including the Sisk Avenue and West Oxford Loop extensions and the new proposed office complex that will house several county agencies.

During Monday evening’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the board voted to approve the issuance of the bonds through Sue Fairbank of Butler Snow LPC. Fairbank said the sale of the bonds will be published for two weeks before proceeding with the bid process in early June.

The county and city of Oxford are working in conjunction in splitting the cost on the Sisk Avenue and West Oxford Loop road construction projects.

Office park to cost $8.5M

The future Lafayette County Office Park, which is estimated to cost $8.5 million, will provide more space for several local agencies that will allow them to grow and provide more services locally and regionally.

Last month, Supervisors and other county staff members met with architect Cory Alger, who was hired earlier this year, to design the multipurpose facility on County Road 406 during a special meeting.

Alger presented preliminary schematic drawings and budget estimates for both the office park and multipurpose arena.

The office park will consist of four buildings — one for the Mississippi Department of Human Services and Child Protection Services; one for the coroner, which will include a morgue, one for the WIN Job Center, which will include office space for the driver’s license office and a court building.

The court building will be about 13,805 square feet and house the County Justice Court and Oxford Municipal Court.

The city will pay the county $85,000 a year for 10 years, along with an estimated $9,660 for the city’s share of utilities.

Part of the total lease amount, $850,000, may be defrayed by the value of the city’s in-kind provision and installation of municipal sewer facilities servicing the property.

The total square footage of all four buildings will be 41,575 with 207 parking spaces available.

Site preparation for the facility that will be located on about 25 of the 50 acres the county owns on CR 406 has started and is expected to be complete in June.

On the southeast corner of the site, there will be a 48-square foot arena, a 3,000-seat amphitheater and an office for the Lafayette County Extension Services. There will be 400 unpaved parking spaces, 36 paved parking spaces and 16 RV parking spaces with electric and waste removal hook-ups.

The need for the new facilities came after the Mississippi Department of Transportation purchased county property for the Highway 7 expansion, leaving county officials needing to relocate several agencies.

The WIN Job Center was not on Highway 7 but approached county officials about moving into the new space, which will allow it to become a regional center providing more adult education and training opportunities. They will be paying rent to the county to be in the building.

The Coroner’s Office will have an autopsy room and morgue located at the new facility, with an entrance to the morgue located in the back of the building under a covered carport.

Board President Jeff Busby said some of the money is also earmarked for other projects, such as upgrading the district attorney’s office.

“We are hoping we don’t have to use all of the $20 million so we can upgrade some other county facilities,” Busby said.