By Bob Balgemann
BELVIDERE - The Boone County Health and Human Services Committee is recommending that Knapp Schmidt Architects be hired for the design and construction of a new 3,000-square-foot animal control services building.
But it is a 3-2 vote, taken Wednesday April 9, which will go to the full county board at its Apri...l 16 meeting.
Committee Chairman Paul Larson and members Bill Pysson and Marion Thornberry supported Knapp Schmidt, headquartered near Portage, Wis., north of Madison. Opposition came from members Kenny Freeman and Ron Wait, who liked Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects, based in Rockford.
Support for Gehlhausen was tenuous, however. Wait said he didn't want the contract to go to an out-of-state company, while Freeman said he liked both companies.
And there was a big concern about Knapp Schmidt because of the three-hour plus distance between Boone County and its base of operation.
Beyond that, Freeman cautioned, "You bring in Knapp and he doesn't deal with the local trades, there will be problems."
The committee recommended authorizing County Administrator Ken Terrinoni to negotiate a contract with Knapp Schmidt, should it be hired by the full board at the April 16 meeting. If no agreement is reached he was given the green light to begin discussions with Gehlhausen.
There were four architectural firms in the running when the committee meeting began. But members quickly dismissed the Jenkins and Hagney companies for various reasons.
POLLING THE COMMITTEE
After discussing the two remaining candidates Chairman Larson polled the committee to see where everyone stood. When it became clear that a 2-2 deadlock existed, Pysson called on Larson to declare his position.
But Larson initially replied, "I won't force the issue. We are split."
He said what he was hearing from the rest of the committee was that Knapp Schmidt was good at design with Gehlhausen good with construction. It was suggested that project responsibilities be split between the two firms, but it was quickly agreed that would not work.
Still, Terrinoni said, "I don't know why you couldn't talk with both of them. Ask them to resubmit projects that are similar in nature."
Freeman asked if the issue could just be moved on to the full county board. That could be done, Terrinoni answered, but he predicted the board "will be equally divided."
Ultimately, the committee agreed with Larson's suggestion that it recommend Knapp Schmidt as its No. 1 choice, with the caveat that there were some concerns. Pysson authored a motion to that effect and it passed, 3-2, with Larson breaking the tie.
The health and human services committee is one of seven standing committees of the county board. It consists of five of the 12 county board members.
Members have agreed animal control staff and the animals themselves need to abandon the current building off Appleton Road, because of numerous structural deficiencies.
The new building likely will be constructed on the east side of Illinois 76, just south of Spring Creek Road, where the county highway department currently is located.
(Above taken for Belvidere Daily Republican’s Facebook