New engineering facility to be constructed


The Morrow County Development Authority is excited to announce the partnership between the Board of Morrow County Commissioners, the Morrow County engineer, and the Development Authority to bring to the county a new engineer facility.

Shortly after the Development Authority was created in November of 2022, the Board of Directors met in December 2022, where it was given a list of development projects to review during an executive session. One of the projects shared was the need to build a new facility in a partnership with the county engineer. After a year of planning and working with many elected officials, the Village of Mount Gilead, and the Board of Directors, the Development Authority has finalized plan.

The new garage will be a roughly 50,000-square-foot facility located on county-owned ground on Home Road by the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office. This facility will encompass roughly 16.5 acres north of the current Ohio Department of Transportation facility. Some of the amenities include a salt dome, rock storage, fueling station, a community conference room, and a section of the building will house the opportunity to pour precast bridge components in-house. The county engineer’s 20-year cost estimate in savings by making bridge beams in-house exceeds the cost of the building, which makes this investment even greater for the county.

There is a relatively small number of counties in Ohio who make their own bridge components in-house. By having this done in-house, Morrow County Engineer Bart Dennison feels the county will be better able to tackle the large number of bridges that need replaced in the county while also creating a cost savings to do so. Also, increasing efficiency will happen by consolidating the two current facilities the engineer road crews operate out of into one central location.

The current operations are housed at the fairgrounds and in the former ODOT building located behind Hartman’s Printing. The truck depot at the fairgrounds continues to deteriorate and is not heated, which is tough on the dump trucks in the winter. The new facility will allow for the trucks to be properly stored and should increase the longevity of the vehicles. The new facility will also provide more headroom clearance for truck lifts so the maintenance technicians can perform their work in a more proficient manner.

This facility is projected to cost $7.3 million to complete with an expected completion date of spring 2025. The Development Authority issued a bond request for $7.25 million of projected costs, and in working with Morrow County Treasurer Jim Jahn, secured the purchase of the bond with the county. This is a case of the county investing in the county with the Development Authority holding the debt. Repayment of the bond comes from the commissioners, with the approval of the county engineer, to use the motor fuel excise tax that comes from the state “gas tax.”

Another attribute of this project includes working with the Village of Mount Gilead to bring water and sewer further north of U.S. Route 42 and down Home Road. In exchange for bringing water and sewer to this portion of Home Road, which opens up more possibilities of development for the future, the commissioners agreed to offer the current county garage located behind Hartman’s Printing as an even exchange.

With the Morrow County Development Authority holding this project, the board advertised through an RFQ process for a designer and construction manager at risk and through that process, selected J & F Construction & Development, Inc. out of Bucyrus to perform both services.

The Morrow County Development Authority is excited about this project and the unique partnerships involved in making this come to reality for the community.

The following entities helped this project become a reality: Morrow County commissioners Tim Abraham, Jon Mason and Tim Siegfried; Dennison; Jahn; Morrow County Auditor Conni McChesney; legal counsel to the Development Authority: Bricker Graydon LLP; bond counsel: Northland Finance, Joseph Robertson; investment advisor to the treasurer: Meeder Investments, Scott Gruber, CMT; Village of Mount Gilead; J & F Construction & Development, Inc.; Morrow County Development Authority: Derek Allen, Rick Dunlop, Angela Powell and Jamie Brucker.

Submitted by the Morrow County Development Authority.

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