Commission members said Monday that there is some brainstorming ahead as they search for space to house county archives

Ottawa County Election Board secretary Verna Ferris told county commission members that she may be forced to seek rental storage in order to protect sealed election materials.

Ferris' office is one of three facing a shortage of storage space.

The county clerk and the court clerk - each mandated by law to keep records in perpetuity - foresee that storage will quickly become an issue. Each has asked county commissioners to consider a separate facility for archival storage.

County clerk Reba Sill said her office is currently storing documents in her former office in the old courthouse.

“We can probably get most of those documents into our new office,” Sill said. “But, if we do that, we won't have any room to grow.”

Court clerk Cathy Williams's documents create the most concern for county officials. Court records are not only voluminous, they need to be readily accessible.

The need for space is currently difficult to assess, according to commission chairman Russell Earls, who has asked all three offices to estimate their need for space.

For Williams and Ferris, the determination can only be a guess until their space in the annex building is more clearly defined.

Commissioners discussed the possibility of construction exterior storage on either the parking lot of the new annex or on the vacant lot where the county first proposed to build an annex facility before purchasing the former IBC Bank.

The annex facility is currently being renovated for use by the county extension office, election board and a portion of the court clerk's office.

In addition, it will house the office of the county emergency management director and the emergency operation center.

Dist. 1 Commissioner John Clarke asked that no decisions be made until all offices are in place and a determination of need is made regarding storage space.