LOWVILLE — With a local child care provider declining the opportunity, Lewis County is looking for interest from other providers willing to open at the temporary county human services building to be located in the former Glenfield Elementary School starting in September.
“It’s all set up. It’s a great little wing. Unfortunately, at relatively the last minute, we’re not going to be able to partner with Hand and Hand (Early Childhood Center),” Lewis County Manager Ryan M. Piche said during the county’s Health and Human Services Committee meeting Tuesday. “If there’s another child care agency in our region that wants to start a business (here), we’ve got the facility. We’ve got the American Rescue Act money. We just simply need the organization that’s willing to make that very small investment in Lewis County with us, so we’ll put out the RFP (request for proposals) and see what we get.”
The county’s human services departments, including Social Services, Community Services and Office for the Aging, will be moving their operations to the building for the duration of comprehensive renovations at the office building on Outer Stowe Street in Lowville. The renovations are expected to take two years.
After the departments move out of the county-owned Glenfield location and back into their Lowville offices, the Lewis County Industrial Development Agency will find a buyer for the Glenfield building.
Because there is more space in the former school than is needed for the offices, the idea to offer space to Hand in Hand entered the discussion, especially as increasing child care opportunities is a priority for the county. Many of the approximately 100 employees who will be working in the building use child care services, as do many of their clients.
Despite Hand in Hand’s change of heart after initially embracing the opportunity, the county is hopeful the space won’t go to waste.
“I would love for somebody else to come in and maybe do child care but it could be something else,” said Health and Human Services Committee Chair Lisa Virkler. “So we’ll put out some feelers.”
A new request for proposals will soon be circulated.
County legislators will vote in June to approve an agreement with Greater Syracuse Moving and Storage for about $159,000 to move the equipment, files and furniture for the departments. The temporary relocation is not expected to interrupt services and is planned over the course of two weeks beginning Sept. 1.
“It’s a large amount but it’s because this company’s working with us to keep our operations going,” Mr. Piche said.
The state will reimburse 75% of the cost. The planned moving budget was $80,000.