On The Ground By Fall
By Mike Scott
When voters approved the $4 million dollar bond issue for the demolition and replacement of the 139-year old Clark County Courthouse, the historic building’s days were numbered.
“Our projection is to have the building on the ground by fall,” said Clark County Presiding Commissioner Paul Allen.
Last Tuesday evening, around 30 people gathered in the Clark County Courtroom to hear design plans from Eric Westhues and Brian Connell, of Connell Architecture of Columbia, Missouri. Connell will be the architecture firm for the project, and S&V Consultants of Jefferson City will provide engineering services.
In a powerpoint presentation, Westhues outline the services Connell Architecture will provide.
“When you have a limited budget, you don’t have a lot of options,” Westhues told the commissioners and members of the public in attendance. “We’ll present all of those to you.”
Although the plans are not finalized, Westhues presented cost information on a two story, 27,000 square foot building with a full basement, as well as a single story, 18,000 square foot building without a basement.
While the construction cost of the two story building is about one-third higher than that of the single story, the two story building is one-third larger.
“So that pricing make sense. A larger building will cost more,” said Courthouse Committee chairman Shawn McAfee.
“We have made a commitment to build a 100-year building,” said Brian Connell. “It is our goal that it will look pretty much like this.” Connell pointed out features in the proposed drawing (shown below).
Westhues discussed the orientation of the building.
“I would like the front of the building to face west, as it originally did,” he said.
That decision, along with the final design, are weeks away from being finalized.
Westhues expects bid letting to occur in 6-8 months, with actual construction beginning next spring. From the groundbreaking, construction should take 18-24 months.
“The demolition process of the current building needs to take place as soon as possible,” Westhues added. “We want the opportunity to salvage as much as possible, and to have a realistic salvage process.”
Among the items they hope to salvage are the cupola, and the judge’s bench.
Sometime this summer, county employees will pack up and move to temporary quarters in the Hiller Building.
Asked if everyone would fit there, Presiding Commissioner Allen answered, “We’re going to like one another.”
Heating in the Hiller Building has been a problem, as the current boiler produces a noxious odor. Allen said the forced-air gas furnaces from the courthouse would be moved to heat the Hiller Building.
No decision about the final design have been made at this time.
“We want to get the best deal we can for the taxpayers’s money,” said Commissioner Roger Sedore.