UI Extension to move Onarga office next door

UI Extension to move Onarga office next door

ONARGA — It did not take long for the University of Illinois Extension to find another building to rent for use as its new Onarga office.

The Extension, facing a June 30 deadline to move out of its current office at 912 W. Seminary Ave. in Onarga, has been offered the use of a building directly next door, officials said this week.

The Extension is now in the process of negotiating a lease with the building's owner, said Ginger Boas, director of the Extension unit serving Ford, Iroquois, Champaign and Vermilion counties.

Ford County Board member Dave Hastings of Paxton, who serves on the UI Extension advisory council, said Boas informed him of the progress following a Ford County Board finance committee meeting earlier this month.

Hastings said he was told the new site is owned by one of the Bork brothers, who also own the Extension's current office.

"Our understanding is he has offered to upgrade that building for the Extension's use," Hastings said.

Hastings said he was told the new site is bigger than the existing Extension office. However, Hastings said, he was not sure the Extension would be using more space than it currently is, or that its lease payments would be changed either.

Hastings said he was pleased the Extension found a suitable site in Onarga — a town that is centrally located in Ford and Iroquois counties.

The Extension was notified earlier this spring that its current office will become the new home of Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services' Onarga Clinic. The hospital's chief executive officer, Rob Schmitt, said the hospital needs more space for its clinic in Onarga, and the 3,000-square-foot building housing the Extension office meets that need.

The downtown building that currently houses the clinic — at 109 N. Chestnut St. — will continue to be leased by the hospital after the move occurs, Schmitt said. Schmitt said the building will be used for community education and outreach programs, such as diabetes education classes, healthy cooking classes and fitness classes.