Jefferson County is looking for a bidder on a 10,000 square-foot storage building to be built with CARES ACT funds and house equipment for the Emergency Management Agency, Jefferson County Health Department and personal protection equipment for the COVID-19 pandemic, the county announced Tuesday.

Since early in the pandemic, the Jefferson County 4-H Fairgrounds has been used as a central distribution point for state-sanctioned PPE and sanitation equipment serving 11 counties across Region 9 of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security map, County Commission President Dave Bramer said Wednesday. If all goes according to plan, a new, L-shaped building located closer to the Health Department would be built by Dec. 21 and house PPE, vehicles for EMA and additional equipment now taking up space at the Health Department.

The entire project would likely cost between $300,000 and $500,000 and be covered entirely by CARES Act funding, Bramer said. Jefferson County was allotted just over $1 million through the CARES act and used about $27,000 from March to June, mostly on PPE, he said.

Other specifications include two bathrooms with showers, two 36-inch steel doors, an extended parking lot to service new construction on all six sides and a pole barn design with a metal-lined ceiling and interior walls. The structure would stand about 16 feet tall.

Bramer said the county hopes to spend more federal funds on technology and other services in the near future to make remote work easier for county employees amid the ongoing pandemic.

Responses to the request for proposal must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 31 to the County Commissioners Office.