PAXTON — Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran said he will use a state grant to replace the sheriff’s office’s aging maintenance shed.

Doran said he received notice recently that his application for the $39,000 infrastructure grant had been processed. Doran said that he expects the grant to be awarded, and he will use it to help pay for a new pole-barn-type structure to be built where the existing 53-year-old maintenance shed is located in the parking lot on the sheriff’s office’s south side.

"It would be about the size of the Sally port on the edge of the jail," Doran said. "It would be about that size, but it’s not that tall."

On Friday morning, in advance of soliciting bids from contractors for the project, Doran asked the Ford County Public Building Commission to cover any costs that exceed the amount of the grant, and the commission gave its tentative approval.

Doran said he expects the project to cost about $10,000 to $15,000 more than the grant’s amount.

A public bid notice will be published in a local newspaper in upcoming weeks, and bid specifications will be available to contractors at the sheriff’s office in advance of a May 10 bid opening.

Doran said he applied for the grant through state Rep. Tom Bennett’s office and state Sen. Jason Barickman’s office.

Last November, Doran told the commission that he was considering using the grant funds on one of three other projects: (1) the replacement of the maintenance shed, which he said the sheriff’s office has outgrown; (2) the installation of bullet-proof glass around the security desk at the courthouse; or (3) the replacement of an exterior steel door on the northeast corner of the courthouse, leading to the probation department offices in the basement.

The commission last fall voted to spend up to $4,200 on the door’s replacement. Doran said the "very, very old" door, located at the bottom of some stairs, leaks during heavy rainfall. Doran said the door also lacks a "crack bar for people to get out in case of a fire or emergency."

On Friday, Doran said the door was being ordered and would be installed once the weather improves.

"It’s a special door, so it could take a couple of months to get the door ordered," Doran said.

Sewage grinder pumps

Also Friday, the five-member commission voted unanimously to solicit bids for the replacement of the sewage grinder pumps at the county jail in Paxton.

A bid opening was set for 9 a.m. May 10 in the jury room on the second floor of the courthouse.

The grinder pumps in the floor of the jail’s basement are used to grind anything that inmates may have flushed down their toilets before the sewage water is sent out to the city’s sanitary sewer system, Doran said.

However, the existing grinder pumps are 25 years old and are not working properly, Doran said.

Doran said he expects the cost of the project to be about $45,000.

Health department remodel

Also Friday, the commission voted unanimously to solicit bids for the remodeling of the Ford County Public Health Department office in Paxton, and a bid opening was set for 9 a.m. May 10 in the jury room on the second floor of the courthouse.

As part of the project, an interior wall will be torn down in order to expand office space used by registered nurses as well as a lab located in a room next to it. The result would be making the neighboring employee break room smaller.

In addition to tearing down a wall, the project would involve some plumbing work to relocate a sink used as an eyewashing station in the lab. Also, new cabinetry would be installed in the lab and in the break room. The work would also involve moving some electrical boxes that power refrigerators that store vaccines. Some new flooring would be installed, too.