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Lake Orion plans to move offices to former senior center

September 04, 2013 - By Meg Peters

Review Staff Writer

Village Council has decided to pack up their brick building and move to the old Orion Township Senior Center.

This plan has been discussed for months, and now is in the preliminary planning process as village manager Darwin McClary gathers cost estimates.

"It's a bigger facility and the village council would like to see this building utilized by commercial business to bring more business to the downtown area," he said.

One person has contacted the village about using their current location at 37 E. Flint St. and is currently in negotiations with another private property owner.

The village received floor plans designed for free by Mainstreet Oakland County, an economic development program specializing in historic preservation.

The same departments would work under one roof. The LO police department would have more room than currently, which will allow them to have "adequate booking, fingerprinting, and minimal holding facilities," McClary said. "Basically just a handcuff lockdown. It won't be anything more than that, which they do not have now. They are cramped."

Not much building work will be done to the inside of the previous Orion Township senior center. It will need a few walls, upgrading carpet and furniture, and installing new information technology. 

"Right now we are working off a ten-year-plus old computer system and server. We got to look at information technology which includes presentation technology, security systems, because these doors I've dotted in green have to be secure, so we'll probably have key fobs that will get us into those areas," McClary said. "It's going to be a lot more high tech than what we have here, but a lot more efficient. Efficiency and productivity is a big part of what we are looking at."

One main point of contact will be provided for citizens, for both police and village administration. The two office clerk windows will be side by side.

The original church, built in 1854, will be village council chambers. It will require the most renovation and investment, and will still be under construction if the council moves in by their target month July 2014. 

Marion Ginopolis, Lake Orion Schools superintendent, said her board would be willing to consider letting the village council use their school board room for council meetings.

Although McClary does not have firm cost estimates, he predicts the move and upgrades will be a couple hundred thousand dollars, not including the renovations for the union church. 

"It's going to be an exciting process if we can make the numbers work."

The village has set aside $75,000 for the move, and has calculated around $75,000 in cost savings from dissolving their current dispatching services.

"I'm already so excited about it because I see a lot of potential in really moving us forward from what we are now, but it's going to take an investment," McClary said.

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