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EFFINGHAM — The Effingham County Board on Monday approved the addition of a lactation room to the probation department in the Effingham County Courthouse.

Board Member Joe Thoele said he spoke with probation's chief managing officer, Cheryl Meyers, who said the county would have to pay for the lactation room, which is part of a multi-room renovation. The lactation room would cost the county $1,392 and would include the costs for paint, drywall, studs, plates, drywall mud, electrical and miscellaneous expenses.

Thoele said to save on costs, the lactation room will possibly utilize a curtain divider that is currently located in the county board meeting room. He said the county board has not used the curtain in nearly two decades, so it would be better used in the lactation room.

The lactation room will be located near the elevators of the third floor of the courthouse. Thoele said a 10' by 6' room will be expanded into a 10' by 10' room, and a wall will be constructed.

Board Member Heather Mumma said supplies and equipment for the lactation room have been supplied locally as well.

"All the furnishings and supplies have been supplied by businesses. (Its) chairs, changing tables, supplies for it, all of those things," Mumma said.

Board Member Rob Arnold said Walgreens, B & B Homes, Andes Health Mart and local lactation consultant Nichole Davis have donated such items for the room.

Thoele said the lactation room will be open to those utlizing probation services and to the public. He said that in recent months, three individuals using probation services have used a separate room in probation department for lactation needs, but no dedicated lactation room has been offered before now.

Board Member Doug McCain voiced concern over whether or not the lactation room would require a sink. Thoele said a sink is optional and not mandatory for the room, and McCain said he worries the state may require a sink down the road.

In addition to a lactation room, a portion of the probation office itself will be remodeled.

Thoele said the costs of the remodeled probation room will be covered by court probation service fees. The probation remodel will cost $2,218, which covers insulation, a door and door frame, plates, drywall, drywall mud, cables and electrical and HVAC should it need moved.

The board also heard from a public transportation representative, Phil Toops, about a possible established bus route. Toops said while the route is not a certainty, it is a goal for the county transportation department for 2019.

Toops told the board that he has received input from passengers, surrounding towns and others on where potential bus stops should be located within the county. He said the county transportation department would essentially be putting together a set schedule for the public buses to run on.

Toops said should a route be established, he expects the number of rides to increase.

"This is good news for the county. There's going to be more transportation, and we'll go from probably 40,000 rides a year to about 100,000 (rides)," Toops said.

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