Work progressing on new county building to hold extension, EMA, adult learning


Rising where the former Switzerland County Highway Department garage used to be located at the corner of Seminary and Arch streets in Vevay, work continues on a new county building that everyone hopes will be under roof by the time winter hits.

The building, which will house several different county entities, will be the new location of the Purdue Extension Service of Switzerland County. Currently housed in the Blair Building on East Main Street, the new building is in close proximity to the Switzerland County fairgrounds – which will make many things easier for extension employees during fair week.

“The rain slowed work down this week, but they’ve got the rafters up and once it’s under roof, I think it will move much faster,” extension educator Ginger Furnish said of the building. “We are still on track for moving into the building in March of next year.”

Ginger Furnish said that much of the work that has been done on the building to this point are things that passers by may not be able to see, like building the basement and putting in drainage and water and electric connections. Now that all of that preliminary work is complete, the structure of the building itself began to rise quickly.

“We’re excited,” Ginger Furnish said. “I was surprised at how well the parking lot is setting up with the entrances and exits, it’s going to be nice.”

Once the building is under roof, workers will then move inside to work during the winter months. Ginger Furnish said that everyone feels that the building will be done in February, but there are all sorts of state permits and state inspections that will have to be completed and approved before offices can move into the building.

Along with Purdue Extension; George Adams and the Emergency Management Agency will have offices located in the basement of the facility; and there will also be a large community room – designed to seat up to 300 people – that will be available to be used for wedding receptions, large public meetings, and possibly some 4-H programs prior to and during fair week.

There will also be a large community conference room in the facility that can be used for meetings by any organization.

A big part of the new facility will be three classrooms/computer labs that will be available for adult learning programs.

Ginger Furnish said that “WorkOne” job services will have an office on the first floor of the facility to help those looking for work and for job skills.

“There is supposed to also be a robotics lab in the facility at some point so that different factories around the area can come in and teach robotics classes,” Ginger Furnish said.

Upstairs in the new building will be Purdue Extension; and there will also be additional office space that will be available should county offices need space or new county entities are created in the future.

Ginger Furnish said that the extension office being so close to the fairgrounds will help tremendously during fair-related activities. Currently the extension staff works out of a small office in the Community Building during fair week; and also travels back and forth to the offices on East Main Street as needed.

That won’t have to happen now.

“It will be nice to be that close and have to drive back and forth and be out of touch,” Ginger Furnish said. “We will be close enough that we can walk back and forth or take a golf cart. I’m thinking about bringing my bicycle down – that would be a healthy thing to do.”

As things move towards the March move in, extension is currently getting prices on having things professionally moved.

“We’re also going through stuff,” Ginger Furnish said. “What do we want to move? What don’t we want to move? We have a lot of paperwork and state reports to get in, but this is our time to go through stuff and see if we want to move it or we don’t want to move it. Kind of analyze what we have here and go through it. We’re looking forward to it.”

And the new facility will cover a wide gambit.

“It’s an adult education facility,” Ginger Furnish said. “We’re part of education; but so are the computer labs and everything else. It’s going to help adults in our community move on and move up. People who want to get their GED, that will be available there, and factory training and other kinds of training can be available.”