Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center
The Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center is Now Open
Linn County celebrated the grand re-opening of the Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center with an open house and ribbon-cutting on July 31, 2012. Located at 935 2nd St. SW, the building has been completely redesigned and renovated following the 2008 flood. The renovations improved the layout to better serve the public, protect against future flood threats and reduce the lifetime operational cost of the building by using energy efficient and sustainable building practices.
Examples of customer service improvements include:
- Relocated the Treasurer’s Office from the second floor to the first floor for convenience because nearly 75 percent of people who visit the Public Service Center come to do business with the Treasurer’s Office.
- Added a customer service numbering system and seating to the Treasurer’s Office to eliminate standing in line.
- Relocated the Recorder’s Office, the Auditor’s Office and the County Assessor’s Office together on the second floor because they often work together on land-related issues. Having them conveniently located together will make it easier for the public and will enhance efficiency of employees who work together on many common issues.
- Added seating for the Planning and Development customer service counter, which was not an option previously due to the high countertops.
These types of changes were possible because Linn County took the time to thoughtfully study how County business is conducted with the public and how the public could be better served.
The Public Service Center will be Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified—a certification program that encourages green and sustainable building practices and results in energy efficiency. The Public Service Center was reconstructed using a project labor agreement and local labor.
The Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center is one of three County buildings that proudly displays public art.
Approximately 130 people work in the following County departments located in this building:
Board of Supervisors
Finance and Budget
Linn County Assessor
Planning and Development
Purchasing / Mailroom
Linn County worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to identify flood mitigation measures that would help reduce the risk of damage from potential future floods. Renovations to the Public Service Center include the following mitigation:
- Moved the Information Technology Department and the Recorder’s Office out of the lower level.
- Converted the lower level to conference and training rooms, the Board of Supervisors meeting rooms and employee break room.
- Moved electrical and mechanical systems out of the basement and up to the third floor.
- Converted elevator from hydraulic to traction so the elevator controls could be moved from the basement to the third floor.
- Installed backflow / manual shut off valve in the main sanitary sewer line to prevent backup.
- Installed sump pumps in the basement.
- Repaired holes and waterproofed the foundation to prevent water from entering.
In April 2010, the Linn County Board of Supervisors named the Public Service Center after Jean Oxley to honor the extraordinary contributions she made to Linn County during her record 24-year tenure in office as the first woman supervisor in Linn County. Mrs. Oxley is the longest-serving Linn County supervisor (1972-1996) and was also the first woman to chair the Linn County Democratic Party and the first woman to serve as President of the State Supervisors’ Association.
During her tenure on the Board of Supervisors, she helped initiate home and community-based services for the mentally ill and intellectually challenged, as well as boys and girls organizations, and programs to allow elderly to stay in their own homes.
Since retirement, Mrs. Oxley has received awards from the State Older Iowans Legislature and has been recognized as an outstanding volunteer with the Heritage Agency on Aging. She has served as president of the Witwer Senior Center and has been honored as a “Woman of Achievement” by Waypoint.
Project Cost: $14.8 million
LEED Certification: Silver (projected)
Architect: Novak Design Group
General Contractor: Miron Construction
$4.5 million appropriation from the State
$4.4 million I-JOBS
$4.2 million FEMA
$1.2 million Linn County
and grant funding
Why Not Keep County Offices at Westdale?
To remain at the temporary Steve & Barry's location (at Westdale Mall), Linn County would have needed to purchase the building at an estimated $3 million. In addition, according to a feasibility study completed by Howard R. Green Company, renovations in excess of $15 million would have been necessary to repair the building and bring it into compliance with code and building standards. The costs of the renovations at the Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center were paid for in large part by FEMA and I-JOBS funding. The I-JOBS funding was designated specifically for the Public Service Center.
The Board of Supervisors conducted a series of public open houses and focus groups and provided an online survey in October 2009 to gather public input on the permanent location of Linn County services.
The open houses and online surveys revealed that the public did not strongly favor any one of the five options presented over the other.
The results of the 2009 public input process can be found here.
To read the feasibility study, click here.