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Anderson Building, student transportation highlights of County Commission meeting

Lyon County commissioners heard members of the public and Lyon County Extension discuss the need for significant changes to the Fairgrounds Anderson Building, along with a state grant to help pay for the upgrades, at their study meeting Wednesday.

Lyon County tried unsuccessfully to obtain a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant to reconfigure the building, including moving bathrooms from the southeast corner to the west side, moving the main entrance from the south side to the west side and adding a kitchen. It's trying again this fall, focusing on handicapped-accessible upgrades instead of general improvements, after guidance the county would have better luck taking that approach.

Several people have mailed county commissioners, saying the bathroom move and upgrade is needed, and during meeting Betty Rathke echoed those sentiments. She says she wants a "functional" bathroom.

A family bathroom was also suggested.

Estimated cost with the current plan is around $900,000, but that may increase with the addition of a family bathroom. A dollar-for-dollar Jones Trust grant up to $400,000 is on board pending approval from the state, meaning the county would have to pay the remainder.

BG Consultants spokesman Bruce Boettcher says work could start after the 2014 Flint Hills Beef Fest if the grant is approved.

In other business, Emporia State University students Melissa Germann and Josh Wallace requested a new public transit route for students to the west side of town. Germann says transportation matters are a student and administration priority.

Students are requesting a bi-weekly run Wednesdays and Fridays from campus to the Industrial Road corridor, asking for 3:30 to 7:30 pm run times Wednesdays and 5:30 to 9:30 pm Fridays.

LCAT manager Ken Barrows is open to expanding service for students. Barrows says the county bus service is seeing an increase in traffic from international students. He tells KVOE News is looking forward to increased cooperation between ESU and Lyon County as this project develops.

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