Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- St. Louis County Commissioners gave unanimous approval Tuesday to the sale of $24 million general obligation capital improvement bonds to fund renovations and improvements to the Government Services Center in Duluth. The project is part of the county’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan, which Commissioners say will result in long term savings and greater convenience for the public. By investing in the building now, county leaders expect to cut utility costs dramatically. The county also will save money that’s currently spent to rent space in other downtown Duluth locations. Commissioners say the renovations will create more space within the building, allowing it to house more County offices. The space also will be designed to improve work flow and efficiencies between departments. The GSC is a 30-year-old building that St. Louis County purchased from the state of Minnesota in 2002. Located at 320 West 2nd Street, it currently houses numerous county departments, including Public Health and Human Services, Land and Minerals, County Extension and Information Technology; and receives more public visitors each year than any other county building. Officials say while the building is in excellent condition structurally, the mechanical, electrical and HVAC infrastructure is in poor condition. Additionally, the layout and configuration of the office space is inefficient, as the building formerly housed several tenants from different governmental agencies. The changes and new systems in this facility are estimated to reduce energy consumption by 40 to 60 percent annually. “We’re on a path to having every county employee in a county-owned building,” said Commissioner Keith Nelson. “On that path, we’ve saving millions of dollars in rent. The direction is good and the timing is right.” Today’s vote followed a public hearing on the 2013-2017 Capital Improvement Plan. Posted to the web by Krista Burns kburns@kbjr.com