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A $12.5 million four-phase building program scheduled for completion here in 1996 was proposed Wednesday to the Cattaraugus County Legislature.

The project, advanced by County Administrator Donald E. Furman was based on recommendations from a 1987 space study by Habiterra Associates, Jamestown architects, to meet departmental requirements for the next 20 years.

Part of the 160,000 square feet of additional space needed for county operations by the year 2007 will be provided next fall when a new 90,000-square-foot office building opens in Olean.

Impetus for the expansion, which will cement this village's status as the county seat, came from state criticism of local jail and court facilities.

Furman noted that an Aug. 8 deadline for submission of an "approved plan" for court facilities has been set by the state Office of Court Administration.

Furman said that he had been authorized by the Legislature's Public Works Committee, "to begin the review and approval process.

"I anticipate a recommendation from that committee to the full Legislature during June," he said in a memo.

Furman recommended that because of the lack of room for expansion at the present Court Street location, that new construction take place elsewhere "in or near this building" where he is recommending a planned, "campus-like setting."

Under one part of his program, the existing 60,000-square-foot, three-story County Center, opened in 1967, would be converted into a Public Safety Building housing court-related activities.

Details of the program follow:

Phase One -- Construction of two 20-bed additions, totaling 8,900 square feet to the 82 capacity County Jail. Construction that he plans to start next year would include structural changes mandated by state jail codes. The cost estimate was $1.2 million.

Phase Two -- County Office-Public Works campus. Proposed were a two-story office building where non-court related functions now at six sites here and in Salamanca would be consolidated, also two 40,000-square-foot Public Works Department shop-garage and office buildings. Construction to start in 1991; cost estimate, $6.7 million and $3.6 million, respectively.

Phase 3 -- County Center renovation to accommodate three additional court or hearing groups, also facilities for judges, district attorney, probation department, county attorney and court clerk. Construction start, 1993; cost estimate, $950,000.

Phase 4 -- Smaller projects to update "satellite" facilities here and in Olean that may be converted to new county uses. Construction, 1995; no cost estimate.

To finance the jail project, Furman recommended creation of a "sinking fund" from revenues received for housing out-of-town prisoners.

For the Phase 2 project, the use of certificates of participation, a form of long-term funding, could be employed. For the court-public safety phase, Furmann said that he is exploring the possibility of lease-financing through the State Dormitory Authority.

The Phase 4 renovation work, he suggested, could be financed with current appropriations as the work progresses.

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