Bartholomew County to buy Marr Road buildings

07-05 Premier Ag croppedBartholomew County officials want to purchase the former headquarters of Premier Ag on Marr Road to use as county office space.

The County Commissioners this morning ratified a decision to spend $700,000 on the two buildings on Marr Road to be used as offices for the Purdue Extension Office of Bartholomew County. The extension office has been operating from temporary offices on Repp Drive since they vacated the former county annex building on State Street.

Commissioners President Rick Flohr said the deal has come together quickly and would give the county the two buildings, totaling about 17,000 square feet. One is the ag co-op’s recently renovated office building and the other is a storage garage.

The extension office would only need about a fraction of that space, commissioners said. Other possible county government tenants could include the soil and water conservation district offices, the veterans assistance officer and storage for various county equipment.

Commissioners said that the company plans to turn the building over in about a year, after the company finishes building a new headquarters in Seymour. Last year, Premier Ag merged with the Jackson-Jennings Co-op.

The ratification of the purchase agreement still has a few steps before it is final, said County Attorney Grant Tucker. The County Council must approve the arrangement and two appraisals must be done of the property. The county can not pay more than the average of the two appraisals.

The money for the project would come from telecommunications fund money that the commissioners have been accumulating for about 10 years from money collected from cable television bills, said Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz. The property would be purchased outright, without any borrowing, Kleinhenz said.

Kleinhenz said that he would soon be suggesting that the county use another $300,000 in telecommunications funds to improve the highway garage on State Street.