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Monroe County hoping to erect OSU Extension building in 2021

WOODSFIELD – Ohio State University Extension officials are hoping to construct a new office building in the coming year.

Ohio State University Extension Associate Mary Jo Westfall said the office received approval from the Monroe County Board of Commissioners to set up a new fund for the endeavor in March. The Extension Levy Fund will use money collected from tax revenue from the oil and gas industry, Westfall explained. There is around $800,000 currently in the fund.

“That’s what was generated this year,” she said. “It puts all levy money into one fund.”

The extension levy dollars will be used to construct a new office building located at the Monroe County Fairgrounds in Woodsfield. Typically the funds go to OSU in Columbus, which then funds the Monroe County office.

Westfall said you can’t have an extension office without having an actual office. The Monroe County Extension Office currently resides inside the county’s courthouse.

According to the office’s website, OSU Extension is an educational entity that partners with individuals, families, communities, businesses and industry to strengthen the lives of Ohioans. The office also administers the county’s 4-H program.

Westfall said as of now, there is not an estimated cost for the project. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, plans to move forward with the project were temporarily put on hold.

“We’re going to take another look at the plans and get with an architect in the fall. We’ll try to bid the project out by early next year,” she said. “Hopefully this fall we’ll know more.”

The extension office attempted once before to have the building constructed, however due to lack of a funding source the project was halted. The low bid for the project in 2018 was $800,000, but it was rejected for lack of funding, she said.

Westfall said the department is planning for construction of the new facility to begin sometime next year when all the funding is in order.

“We don’t want to put the county through any burden of trying to get funds and that type of thing. We would like to go when we have the money sitting there and award the contract,” she said.

Westfall said once constructed, the new building would remain the property of Monroe County, not OSU.

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