Let the chaos begin.

For many Columbia County employees who work in the courthouse and Annex, packing is part of the daily work routine, to prepare for the imminent move to the new Administration Building at 112 E. Edgewater St.

But, because nobody’s ever done a move like this — and it’s likely that nobody will, for maybe another century — county officials aren’t yet sure how the move on June 1 and 2 will affect the day-to-day business of the non-court-related offices that are relocating to the Administration Building, on the northwest side of the Portage Canal.

County Clerk Susan Moll has put out the word that some offices might be temporarily closed, or provide limited services, during the transition to the new facility.

Most of the move is expected to take place on June 1 and 2, with June 3 – a Saturday — reserved for moving items that couldn’t be transported during the weekdays.

“We just don’t know how long this move will take,” Moll said.

The move affects the following departments:

  • Accounting: Now on the first floor of the courthouse, moving to the third floor of the Administration Building.
  • Buildings and Grounds” Now in the lower level of the courthouse, but among the first to move to the new building, to set up the other offices.
  • County Clerk, County Treasurer and Register of Deeds: All now on the courthouse’s first floor, and all soon to be on the first floor of the Administration Building.
  • Human Resources and Corporation Counsel: Temporarily located in the former Wisconsin Title building at 115 W. Conant St., to relocate to the new building’s third floor.
  • Land Information: Now on the lower level of the courthouse, soon to be on the Administration Building’s second floor.
  • Land and Water Conservation: Now located in the Annex, to be moved to the Administration Building’s second floor.
  • Management Information Services: One of the first departments to be moved because of its key role in setting up the new Administration Building offices, it is now in the Annex, but will be on the Administration Building’s third floor.
  • Planning and Zoning: Moving from the courthouse’s first floor to the second floor of the Administration Building.
  • Veterans Service: Now on the courthouse’s first floor, soon to move to the Administration Building’s first floor.
  • University of Wisconsin-Extension: Moving from the Annex to the Administration Building’s second floor.

For Moll, “limited service” means that during the transition the clerk’s office will not offer services such as vehicle license stickers or DNR hunting or fishing licenses.

The only service that will be available at the clerk’s office — because state statutes require it — is the issuance of marriage licenses, which must be obtained at least three days before the wedding, but which are good for 30 days from the date of issuance.

Moll said prospective brides and grooms typically get their marriage licenses about three weeks before the wedding — and the word has gotten around about the potential effect of the move.

In the Register of Deeds office, perusal of birth, death and marriage certificates has been suspended until the end of June, said Register of Deeds Karen Manske. That’s because it is expected to take that long to get the records organized in the Administration Building.

Searches of real estate records will be accommodated as much as possible, Manske said, but plats and records dating from the mid-1960s have already been moved to the Administration Building.

Veterans Service Officer Richard Hasse said his office will, in some ways, have an easy move compared to some others.

That’s because he and Assistant VSO Rebekka Cary recently completed the four-year task of digitizing vital veterans’ records.

Hasse said those records will be accessible by computer during the transition, meaning there should be no interruption of the office’s work while the move is in progress.

Moll said that it’s not possible to know, yet, where the clerk’s office will be operating on June 1 and 2. Her advice for people seeking marriage licenses is to come to the courthouse at 400 DeWitt St. – and, if the office has already been moved to the building, there will be a note on the door to that effect.

Follow Lyn Jerde on Twitter @LynJerde


Portage Daily Register Reporter