Baker College site eyed as possible home for Muskegon County offices

Muskegon County

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Saying some of its buildings need tens of millions of dollars in repairs, Muskegon County is looking at the possibility of moving many of its offices to what is now a local college campus.

The Muskegon County South Campus buildings need more than $20 million in repairs, a recent study found, the county said in a Monday release. That big price tag prompted officials to look at options other than paying for all the repairs.

The proposed move would affect non-court county offices, taking them out of the Hall of Justice, Oak Street and South Campus facilities and installing them at what is now the Baker College of Muskegon Campus on Marquette Avenue east of US-31.

This all comes as Baker is looking at moving from its current site to downtown, saying it wants a “vibrant walkable community.”

County Administrator Mark Eisenbarth said he and Public Works Director Matthew Farrar are in “informal discussions” with Baker College President Aaron Maike about the idea. Negotiations have not yet started. The county says that process would include a facility inspection and property appraisal.

The county says the new offices would be more centrally located for all county residents, easier to get to by US-31 and have plenty of parking and handicap accessibility. Plus, it would put all the county offices in one place.

The Muskegon County Board of Commissioners would have to OK any property deals.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the County to relocate to a campus that has been well maintained, has updated infrastructure, ample storage and also allows for over 20 County departments to interact on a daily basis without having to cross the street,” Board Chair Bob Scolnik said in a statement.

If it all goes through, the South Campus could be developed — possibly to host affordable housing.

Courts and court-related services would remain in the Hall of Justice.

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