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St. Louis County Set To Evaluate Its Building Space Needs

A photo of the exterior wall of the Lawrence K. Roos building in Clayton, which is the headquarters for St. Louis County government.
File photo / Jason Rosenbaum
St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis County's Department of Transportation and Public Works is evaluating the future of several county-owned or leased buildings, including government headquarters in downtown Clayton.

St. Louis County has announced plans to look at whether it can reduce the amount of building space it owns or leases — a move prompted in part by the coronavirus pandemic.

The county council earlier this month transferred $300,000 within the budget of Department of Transportation and Public Works to cover the cost of the study. Firms interested in doing the work must submit their qualifications by Tuesday.

The county now owns or leases more than 3 million square feet of space in almost 60 buildings, said Stephanie Leon Streeter, the department’s acting director.

“And we’re finding it more and more difficult to maintain that with the resources that we have,” she said. “So with efficiencies and telework, are there properties that we can just perhaps lease a smaller amount of space, commingle work units that weren’t commingled before.”

The conversations are focused heavily on the county’s headquarters in Clayton, known as the Lawrence K. Roos Building. Clayton’s fire code, adopted in 2016, means the building will have to have sprinklers installed by 2028, Leon Streeter said.

“And so it’s either spend about $50 million on a 50-year-old building and get what we’ve got, or analyze ways we can do better,” she said. “And between government efficiency and greater telework due to COVID, is there something we can get for a price that’s in that same ballpark but perhaps a smaller footprint.”

The county is paying particular attention to a space it uses in Wellston for job training programs known as the MET Center, Leon Streeter said. She added the county should have recommendations for changes by the middle of next year.

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Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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