2016-12-21 / Front Page

Work approved to prep Pines for P&G lab

by Kate Shunney

Morgan County Commissioners approved spending $24,000 for asbestos remediation in the second floor of The Pines building, the former War Memorial Hospital, on Fairfax Street.

Facilities director Vince Cichocki presented two bids from contractors who could remove asbestos-containing floor tile in the upper level of the “60s wing” and the upper level of another section of the building he called the “70s wing.” Both are areas that Proctor & Gamble has expressed an interest in leasing to use for a training laboratory to support their new manufacturing facility near Inwood.

Cichocki said the asbestos work should be completed by mid-January.

Commissioner Bob Ford questioned the county spending the money for asbestos work in order to prepare the area for Proctor & Gamble. The company and county have not yet signed a lease agreement for the space at The Pines.

“Where are we with lease negotiations and what do we expect? The county has limited funds,” Ford said.

“My goal was always that money we spend was going to be on improvements that we were already going to do,” said Commissioner Brad Close.

Cichocki said moving walls in those wings would disturb the tiles, making it necessary to do the work.

“P&G doesn’t do a lot of leasing,” said Commissioner Joel Tuttle. “They do a lot of buying.”

“There’s not going to be, in this particular lease – there isn’t going to be any lease revenue,” Tuttle said. He said talks now between county and company officials point to an 18-month lease with two 6-month renewal options.

Tuttle said after that, the training lab would move to the manufacturing facility in Inwood. Company officials previously said that was their plan.

County officials said they don’t expect to receive lease payments from the company, but Proctor & Gamble would invest $1 million in building a testing lab facility at The Pines.

“They’ll leave behind a firstclass facility for whatever program wants to use it,” Tuttle said. Officials indicated that lab could be rented to other companies in the future.

“Improvements they’re going to make are worth us meeting them halfway,” said Close.

Tuttle said the company had put out laboratory plans for contractors to bid on the work last week. Bids are expected back around January 1. The space at The Pines needs to be open for Proctor & Gamble to occupy by March 15, 2017, Tuttle said.

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