The Leavenworth County Commission is seeking an exemption that will allow the county to continue to prohibit concealed firearms in public buildings.

The Leavenworth County Commission is seeking an exemption that will allow the county to continue to prohibit concealed firearms in public buildings.

Commissioners voted Thursday to obtain the four-year exemption from a state law that requires cities and counties to allow concealed firearms in public buildings unless adequate security measures are in place.

The law applies only in cases in which people have valid permits to carry concealed firearms.

The law went into effect this summer, but Leavenworth County already has an exemption through the end of the year.

Commission Chairman Bob Holland said there are about 13 county buildings, all of which will be included in the new exemption.

He said the county ultimately may allow the concealed carry of firearms in at least some of the buildings. But, the exemption will give officials more time to "better study these buildings."

"I'm not saying we're going to exempt all buildings and make them all conceal carry free," he said.

Commissioners made the decision to seek the exemption after meeting in executive session for 30 minutes to discuss security. They were joined in the closed door session by Sheriff Andy Dedeke and Chief Deputy Jeff Dedeke.

Thursday's vote was unanimous.

County Counselor David Van Parys said he'll draft the necessary resolution to send to the state.

"I'll prepare a resolution and try to have it for you Monday morning," he said.

Last week, the Leavenworth City Commission decided to allow concealed firearms in municipal buildings beginning Jan. 1.

City Commissioner Lisa Weakley cited the cost of adding security measures as the reason for the decision.

Lansing City Administrator Mike Smith said he believes the Lansing City Council also opposes implementing such security measures in city buildings because of the expense.

Commission considers 4-H Building

The County Commission also had a work session Thursday to discuss the future of the 4-H Building in Lansing.

Leavenworth County owns the building located at 101 4-H Road, but scheduling activities at the site is coordinated through the Leavenworth County K-State Research and Extension Office.

The building is said to have extensive maintenance needs. County Administrator Pat Hurley has said repairs could cost more than $100,000.

Commissioners have discussed possibly selling the 8.37-acre site where the building is located.

No action was taken Thursday.

Commissioners said 4-H clubs and other non-profit groups such as the Leavenworth County Humane Society can continue to use the building for now.

Holland said he doesn't want the building rented out for private functions such as parties.

Commissioners also asked the Public Works Department to have mold tests conducted.

Denise Sullivan, family and consumer science agent for the local Research and Extension Office, said the building is used for more than 4-H.

She said it's used for various educational programs of the Research and Extension Office. It's also used by community groups such as a food cooperative.

"It gets used much more than just for a 4-H club," she said.

Sullivan said she believes the original intent of the building was for 4-H.

Brenda Taxeras, 4-H youth development agent for the Research and Extension Office, said the name "4-H" and the organization's clover logo are legally protected and use of them have to be approved.

Sullivan said the clover logo that is painted on the side of the 4-H building probably should be painted over.

Holland suggested using money from the purchase of the parcel of land where the building is located to construct a new building in the central part of the county.

It was suggested the new building could include space for the Research and Extension Office.

Holland asked if the existing building is safe for the time being for 4-H clubs and other Research and Extension Office programs.

John Forslund, the county's director of buildings and grounds, said the building is still operational "in the short term."

"The roadway is falling apart," he said.

He said the restrooms and heating and air-conditioning system are dated. He said mold appears to be growing on one side of the exterior of the building.

"It hasn't fallen down in 60 years," he said of the building. "I don't see it falling down next week."

Holland asked if the mold is harmful to people who are inside the building.

Forslund said he can't answer the question without going through a testing process.

Commissioner Dennis Bixby asked if there was a chance mold also is inside the building.

"We have no earthly idea," Public Works Director Mike Spickelmier said.

Holland suggested holding off on a final decision until commissioners hear back about mold testing.

Spickelmier said the county probably can have mold test results by the middle of January.