DeKALB – It won't be much longer before DeKalb Township highway officials can store all their road equipment indoors.
Officials anticipate the construction project underway at the DeKalb Township Building, 2323 S. Fourth St., to be done by April 2014. Architects are adding garage space and small office space to the building, which was built in 1989.
This means road equipment, such as snow plows and pickup trucks, currently parked outside of the building due to space issues will finally be safe inside.
"It will create a safer and easier working environment," said Craig Smith, highway commissioner for DeKalb Township. "If kids ever venture over here, we'd rather they had nothing to climb on or get injured on."
About 20 percent of the equipment is parked outside, leaving it susceptible to changing weather conditions and shortening the life expectancy of the vehicles, Smith said.
The added garage space will be able to accommodate all of the equipment.
Eric Johnson, DeKalb Township supervisor, said the construction project will cost $850,000. The majority of the money will be paid from cash reserves the township has accumulated over the past eight to 10 years, he said.
"We knew this day was coming," Johnson said. "We've been saving the money and putting small amounts away over time."
The planning process for the construction started in July 2012, when department heads discussed long-term planning and compiled building needs. The final approval to send the project out to bid took place in May, Johnson said.
The added office space will address privacy issues. Johnson said some of the work they do deals with personal financial and security information, so they need to add more private office space to make sure that information is protected.
"Privacy is a big concern of ours," he said.
The construction project will also replace heating, air conditioning and ventilation pipes with energy-efficient options.
"A lot of the equipment is original to the building and were reaching the end of their lifespan," Johnson said.
The new facility should suit the township's purposes for the next 20-30 years, Johnson said.
"This design has the long term in mind," he said. "It should meet the needs of our generation or better."