Design nearly complete for Allen County admin building

LIMA — The architect for the upcoming Allen County administration building was back in Lima on Thursday morning to update elected county officials about the progress in making the final touches to the building coming to downtown Lima.

WDC Group principal architect Chris Widener met with officials at the Allen County Board of Elections main conference room to provide the update on the building. It’s set to be constructed at the corner of North and Main Streets on the site of the former Hofeller, Hiatt and Clark clothing store.

He expressed appreciation to the various county agencies involved for their input and guidance throughout the process of finalizing this nearly $17 million project.

“I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ to all your offices because I went back through the notes, and we’ve been at this for a year now,” he said. “We’ve been working with you all, and you’ve all been very responsive.”

Widener’s update centered around areas such as building materials and aesthetic choices, as he noted that the exterior brick for the building will come from northeast Ohio as well as Cincinnati and has been used on other buildings in the area. He also said that the interior design plans are being finalized and will provide options for each office when it comes to elements such as wall color and flooring.

Widener also said the design originally intended to offer alternative fire suppression measures rather than a sprinkler system, but in order to avoid additional steps that state building codes would require to accommodate that choice, the design was changed to allow for a sprinkler system on each floor.

These final updates set to be added to the design in the near future means that work on the site is not far away, Allen County Commissioner Cory Noonan said.

“Hopefully we’re out for bid the end of July or the end of August, for the structure,” he said. “We’ve made some tweaks over the past couple of weeks that have pushed it back a little bit, but we’re still within our timeline.”

Depending on the bidding process, commissioners hope to see work begin this fall.

“When it happens, it will probably happen pretty quick,” Noonan said.

The project is fully funded, Noonan said, thanks to American Rescue Plan dollars, as well as funds saved up at the county level. Any projects funded by ARPA must be in use before the end of 2026, so Noonan hopes to see the county agencies that will be housed in the new administration building in place sometime in the spring of that year.