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Extension Service eyes Lafayette Square center

Leaders of Purdue University’s Extension Service in Harrison County and its supporters and program participants packed the Commissioners’ Room Monday night to get in line for new digs.
Tom Casper, speaking on behalf of the Extension Service, told the three commissioners that a new two-story brick building on 2-1/2 acres behind the Corydon Cinemas ‘ listed at nearly $900,000 ‘ would meet the Extension’s needs for many years to come.
Altogether, $1.2 million would be needed to purchase Roger Harbeson and Dave Poe’s building at the Lafayette Square Business Center and cover related moving costs, Casper said.
The Extension Service is severely cramped for space in the Harrison County Annex, where, Casper said, the agency was placed in a temporary move some 25 years ago.
Between January 2003 and December 2004, Casper said, the Extension held 523 events, including 388 in the conference room at the Annex, 27 in the agency’s offices, and 108 off-site due to the size of the crowd, or because the conference room was not available or because more than one meeting room was needed.
Because of its many programs (including more than 400 youth in 4-H), the agency serves Harrison County’s largest ‘family,’ Casper said.
That agency, the Harrison County Planning and Zoning, Weights and Measures, and Veterans Service offices are in the Annex on Mulberry Street, next to Little Indian Creek. Other offices formerly in that building have moved into the newly renovated downtown jail building, which closed after the Harrison County Justice Center opened on Gardner Lane in 1996.
Although the long-range plan has been to vacate the Annex due to a flood in 1997 and several high-water threats since, the Harrison County Alternative School recently moved into the building as a temporary measure.
Commission chair J.R. Eckart told the Extension Service audience of about 60 Monday night that the commissioners will take another look at long-range plans now that the courthouse and old jail have been renovated.
The latest long-range plans are now 10 years old, so an update is needed, Eckart said.
Also, Eckart said future plans must now include use of the hospital building on Atwood Street, once it is vacated and the hospital built in west Corydon. (Construction there is underway.)
He invited the Extension Service to send representatives to discuss its needs at a commissioners’ work session on Saturday, Dec. 10.
In other matters Monday night, the commissioners:
‘ Were advised by Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel that the environmental assessment conducted for the new connector road between S.R. 64 and the Lanesville interchange of Interstate 64 has been completed. The Alternate 4 route is the most favorable. If that is ultimately chosen, no residences will need to be relocated, Russel said.
‘ Signed an agreement allowing the fuel tanks at the old Wennings packing plant at Central Barren to be removed. Commissioner James Goldman, whose district includes the site, said the Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management will oversee the project, financed through the Indiana Dept. of Finance Authority. Goldman’s motion to proceed was seconded by Commissioner Jim Heitkemper.