Lowndes County and the city of Columbus bought the Maxim medical building after the company shut its doors. Elected officials toured the sprawling, five-building complex on Yorkville Park Square on Wednesday. They are considering options on how to utilize the facility. Photo by: Zach Odom/Dispatch Staff
August 21, 2014 10:34:53 AM
When Lowndes County and the city of Columbus bought the Maxim medical building after the company shut its doors, they believed they were acquiring a 130,000-square-foot facility over 19 acres of land.
During a tour Wednesday of the sprawling, five-building complex on Yorkville Park Square, located east of the Omnova plant, several councilmen and supervisors noted the place had to be bigger than that. Either that, or the emptiness of the majority of the buildings made them seem bigger than they were.
Currently, the facility houses city and county animal control and the coroner's office, as well as some fire training operation. The rest of it is a catch-all for repossessed cars, old fire department uniforms and chairs. And a lot of dust.
A fence cordons off an area inside one dark building that was to be reserved for old city and county file storage has no files or cabinets.
The mostly abandoned structures also have roof leaks and bad wiring among other operational problems. The question is what can be done about all the problems and if the building can still be used for anything else in the future.
Mayor Robert Smith and county administrator Ralph Billingsley said they'll ask Henry Morgan, who fabricates steel buildings for Ceco, to provide an estimate of how many tons of steel are in the building through measurements.
Depending on Morgan's estimates, the city and county could sell the building for salvage value. The question then would be where to re-locate the coroner's office and animal control.
Factoring into the value will be the amount of scrap, as well as how much steel is worth by the pound. A July article from scrapmetalpricesandauctions.com lists heavy steel scrap at 11-12 cents per pound.
Supervisor Harry Sanders said turning the wasted space into revenue would be an advantage for both the county and city.
"It's got some value to it," Sanders said.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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