Scott County Commission looks over archive center

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tour of Cape Girardeau County facility gives officials ideas for their own center.

BENTON, Mo. -- Scott County commissioners are exploring the possibility of building a county archive facility similar to that of Cape Girardeau County.

A week ago today, Scott County commissioners toured the Cape Girardeau County Archives in Jackson to see if Scott County might want to build a similar facility. Commissioners have long been concerned with the lack of space in the county's courthouse for storing documents and said an archives center similar to the one in Cape Girardeau County might be a solution to the problem.

"The primary reason is we're running out of space," county developer Joel Evans said. "The various offices of the county are just running over with documents."

Evans said Scott County also has no central, secure location with climate control to protect old records.

He said many documents are currently stored in a few rooms dedicated to document storage in the courthouse, while the rest are scattered through various county offices.

Second District Commissioner Jamie Burger said the commission is in the early phases of exploring options for an archive center. A possible price tag and funding source for the center hasn't yet been determined, he said.

Renovations helped some

Courthouse renovations over the last few years cleared out some of the old documents and equipment the county no longer needed, alleviating some of the storage problem, Burger said.

"We created enough space not to have to go outside the courthouse, but now we find we're heading right back to the same place we were," Burger said.

Cape Girardeau County's archive center currently holds 4,000 cubic feet of records dating back to 1797 in its 7,000 square-foot facility, said archive director Jane Jackson. The center provides the public with easy access to historical records and average 250 users a month, she said.

Burger said commissioners are considering moving the county's 911 call center, currently located in the county's new jail, into the same building if the archive center becomes a reality. The building would also provide storage for supplies in case of emergency, like durable food goods and bottled water, he said. The building would be located in Benton or nearby.

Before commissioners will take any action on building an archives center or creating one out of an existing building, Burger said they want to hear input from county residents first. The public would have the final say, he said.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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