The reception area will be protected by bulletproof glass.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County Children Services Board employees will probably move into the agency's new building downtown in early April.
Work is under way to get the site ready for the move.
At their meeting Tuesday, board members were told that new furniture, blinds and other items are being brought into the new building, at 222 W. Federal St. The three-story, $7 million building is nearly finished and CSB will occupy the top two floors. The building also will house an underground parking deck and the offices for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
The agency spent about $138,172 to buy new tables and furniture for workers, said Denise Stewart, executive director. The furniture should take between three and four weeks to install and the building should be ready for the agency by early April if phone service is completed, Stewart added.
Stewart noted that safety is a high priority for caseworkers and other employees. To emphasize that concern, the new reception area will be protected by bulletproof glass and security cameras will be mounted at several locations inside and outside the building. A contract with the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department has supplied the agency with one part-time and one full-time deputy, Stewart noted.
"We're taking all the safety precautions we think we should," she said.
Other work being done includes the addition of a skylight and building new cubicles for employees, which could take about a month. About 60 minor deficiencies should be corrected in the building over the next few days to get it ready, board members learned.
Community Improvement Corp. owns the building, and after everything is finished, the county will assume ownership, Stewart said.
Also at the meeting
In other business, Joe Caruso, assistant county administrator, urged board members to consider hiring qualified county employees he anticipated will face layoffs largely due to a $22 million budget shortfall, caused by the defeat of a half-percent sales tax in the November general election.
CSB does not receive general fund dollars. The agency receives its funding from its own levy.