The Rice County Board of Commissioners held their Committee of the Whole Work Session today at the County Government Services building in Faribault.

A representative of Wold Architects and Engineers based in St. Paul outlined six options for future expansion of the Rice Steele 911 Dispatch Center which is currently housed in Owatonna.

The Wold representative commented there are several possible sites for a new facility in Steele and Rice Counties.

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Six options were presented.  Three using the existing facility at 204 East Pearl Street in Owatonna.

An option to relocate to the existing Rice County Law Enforcement Center once the jail and Sheriff's Department go to the new facility.

The recommended option was to renovate the current facility including a raised floor system, modifications to locker room for access, modifications to ramps, a sink, HVAC/sprinklers, new ceilings, new lights and relocation of a kitchenette and break room.

Cost for that was estimated at approximately $846,000 dollars reflective of mid-point of construction in February, 2024.

Rice County Sheriff Jesse Thomas told Commissioners he did not want to cause any problems stating he appreciated the hard work and professionalism of the current staff in Owatonna.

However.

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Commissioners appeared to generally agree it would not hurt to examine the various options to see if savings could be seen in the future.

Board Chair Jim Purfeerst expressed his opinion.

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Rice Steele 911 Center operates currently under a joint powers agreement between Rice and Steele Counties.

One of the options included the possibility of adding another county to the dispatch facility.

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