Osceola County offices to move to former church

Security issues, maintenance costs of annex cited as reasons for change

OSCEOLA COUNTY — The Osceola County board of commissioners is considering moving the administrative offices from their current location in the Osceola County Courthouse to the former Harvest Assembly of God Church building on Upton Avenue, that was purchased by the county in 2020.

County coordinator Tim Ladd told the Herald Review that the county is wanting to vacate the annex building, at 410 Upton Ave., and move the courts into the courthouse.

The annex building has been very expensive to maintain, he said, with the county spending nearly $100,000 a year for electric, sewer, water and other maintenance.

“Currently our Probate, District Courts, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Community Corrections, and Circuit Court Probation are located in the annex building. There have been continued concerns raised by our judges and commissioners about the lack of security in the building,” Ladd said. “To add a contracted armed security officer would be an additional $60,000 per year. As the board considered options to provide security, the decision was made to work out a plan to locate all the courts in one building.

“The board has been looking at different options for two or three months and have determined it is time to vacate the annex building,” he said. “By making this move not only will we be able to provide security for our courts and our various departments but will also be able to see significant financial savings.”

The former church building will be named the Osceola County Administrative Building. It will house the county coordinator and staff offices and it will house the Board of Commissioners board room. All other county offices currently located at the courthouse will remain, Ladd said.

“We are looking to add four offices on the main floor of the admin building and to lightly renovate the rest of the main floor to be utilized as the Board of Commissioners Room,” Ladd said. “Renovations will begin very soon. Some of the renovations will be completed by our maintenance department and we also will be advertising for local contractors to help complete the projects to make this move happen. Our goal is to have the Annex Building completely vacated by the end of this year.”

Once the administrative offices are moved, renovations will be done to the Courthouse building to facilitate bringing all the offices from the annex building to the courthouse, he said. The current board room will be renovated into a court room for both probate and district court use.

“All the offices from the annex building will be relocated to various offices in the courthouse with very little renovation required,” Ladd said.

Osceola County purchased the former Harvest Assembly of God church on Upton Avenue as a split venture between the Osceola County Commission on Aging and the Osceola County EMS Department. The intention was to renovate the building to be used as a COA meal site and EMS training facility. 

The building would have required significant renovations, estimated at about $700,000, to make it ADA compliant, upgrade the kitchen for meal preparation and establish a training area for EMS.

“The thought of putting that much money into that facility for what we were going to get out of it kind of forced us to put the brakes on and think about other options,” COA director Justin Halladay said previously.

In November 2021 Osceola County Commissioners approved the purchase of the former Hersey Elementary school building to establish a new senior center for the Commission on Aging. That facility is currently under renovation and is expected to be ready for occupancy this year.

The EMS training facility is still in the planning stages.