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County Seeks to Buy Building for Offices

January 27, 1998|CATHY MURILLO

In an effort to save money now spent on leasing office space, Ventura County officials are set to buy an east Ventura office building to house health-care administration offices.

The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing today on the $1.9-million purchase, projected to save $6.5 million over the next 15 years.

"It makes financial sense," said Terry Dryer, county deputy administrative officer in charge of facilities. "When you're talking about half a million dollars a year in lease costs, you really need to own."

Dryer said the move is necessary because the current work space, the Bard Building on Foothill Road, is old and unsafe. The health care agency's administrative staff in payroll, public and mental health children's programs, emergency medical services and public health education would be involved in the move.

With parts of it built more than 60 years ago, the structure has inadequate heating, leaky roofs and outdated wiring. The walls and ceilings contain asbestos, Dryer said.

If supervisors approve the acquisition, health care employees can move into new 42,000-square-foot headquarters at 2323 Knoll Drive within a month. Dryer acknowledged that the location--in a neighborhood of business parks near Ivy Lawn Memorial Park--is off the beaten path, but said it does not offer clinical services and is rarely visited by the public.

Additional costs would be $600,000 for communications equipment and minor renovations, $5,000 in moving bills and another $5,000 in escrow fees.

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