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The county is planning to convert a Parks Department storage building into a records management center, while changing its plans for a Niagara Falls School District building it still wants to acquire.

The parks building is near the existing records center on Davison Road. The two-story structure would hold 28,000 cubic feet of county paperwork, according to Deputy County Clerk Wendy J. Roberson. That would be added to 8,700 cubic feet now housed in a former nurses' residence behind what used to be the county infirmary and is now home to the Social Services Department.

The county, using state guidelines for what needs to be kept on paper and what can be destroyed, hauled about three tons of papers in dump trucks to the American Ref-Fuel incinerator in Niagara Falls while straightening up the current records center.

"We have to look at downsizing records or we're going to need more and more buildings," County Clerk Wayne F. Jagow said. He said the preferred answer is microfilming, but so far the county has microfilmed only mortgages, deeds, and some documents in the county treasurer's and real property tax offices.

However, Mrs. Roberson said the county needs to properly store about 30,000 cubic feet of paper that state rules do not allow it to throw away.

Since last year, the county has been talking to the Niagara Falls School District about taking over a sprawling 19,263-square-foot one-story maintenance building at 1170 Elmwood Ave., adjacent to the Trott Access Center.

The plan was to make the building into a records management center shared by the county and the school district. Superintendent Carmen A. Granto said, "The idea was, in return for not charging for it, we'd get some space there." The school district has its own records storage problems.

A nominal price of $1 was discussed, but the Niagara Falls School Board cannot dispose of the building without voter approval in a referendum. It never acted to put the matter on last May's ballot. Granto said he expects the proposition to be voted on in May 1999. Granto said, "(The board) knows it's our intention to do that."

However, Mrs. Roberson said, "I can't wait. I have to have ownership of that building by Feb. 1, 1999, so I can write my grant (applications). Our records can't wait."

She said Feb. 1 is the deadline to apply for state grants for more shelves and to haul 8,000 cubic feet of Social Services records out of an old tractor-trailer behind the department's headquarters. Other records are stacked in what used to be a chapel when the complex was the county infirmary.

Jagow said the time element will change the character of the deal with the Niagara Falls School District.

"We're still working with Niagara Falls," Jagow said. "It will take on a little bit of a different bent. We won't have to use the whole building (for records)."

He said some records might still be stored there, both from the school district and from county offices and courts in Niagara Falls. "Nothing is final. We're waiting to find out what volume (of records) he (Granto) has."

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