BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR –
MONTROSE – The referendum to build a new centrally located courthouse was soundly defeated in November and now Lee County Supervisors are looking at the best options for upgrading those current facilities.
At Tuesday’s Lee County Board of Supervisors’ meeting, supervisors heard from Ed Soenke of Design Partners and John Hanson of Midwest Construction Consultants of Houghton, on how to best go about rehabbing the north and south Lee County courthouses and North Lee County County Building.
The south courthouse building has some issues in the belltower and other locations throughout the building, but the supervisors asked Hanson to come up with a complete estimate on the work for all three of the locations so the board could have the numbers going into budgeting sessions which start in about three weeks.
Supervisor Chair Ron Fedler said the board usually won’t meet in the week following Christmas, but he said there are too many issues in front of the board to do an electronic meeting and they would have to meet on the 27th.
Hanson said he could have a plan and some numbers together by that meeting or just after the holidays.
“First thing to do is get the tuck pointing done and get that sealed, and then get the other items taken care of. We have budgeting coming up next month and it would be good to have some estimates on that going into that budgeting time,” Fedler said. “What we need to do is make sure we fix it and we fix it right so we don’t have water going in there.”
“I’m here to offer my services. I’m not involved in the project, but I thought we could offer our services to get estimates put together and also to look at the different construction that needs to be done in all the locations…cleaning out basements…plaster…security and put those numbers together for you,” Hanson said. “I guess I was offering my services if you wanted them and if we had a project we could negotiate a fee or work on an hourly basis.
“I think you’re looking at more than one building and having a plan together and estimates of costs and give you an idea of what projects need handled first.”
The conversation focused heavily on tuck-pointing on the south courthouse and possibly sealing. Soenke said that sealers can extend the life of the joints and mortar and could extend the life in the long run.
“The three-year maintenance plan they’ve got here, they’ve got tuck-pointing on both buildings, waterproofing and glazing,” said board member Gary Folluo.
“Maybe a package deal you could get a better price,” Soenke suggested.
“I can tell you want to take a closer look at a complete plan of action. You want to know what the cost is vs. doing something else,” Hanson said. “I would foresee that we would go in there and look at construction items and report to the board. Plus give you more of an action list and a probable cost and develop a five-year plan or whatever you want to do. I can put something together on an hourly basis if approved by the board, which might be fair. I’ve done that with Harmony school over the past seven years. I’ve done all their projects., but if we get into a bigger project we can put in what we could do for developing front-end specifications and soliciting bids from contractors and masons.”
“I would caution you, John, on that this thing doesn’t get crazy,” Supervisor Matt Pflug. “We know there are certain things that need to be done, but coming in with a list two miles long..”
Hanson said he didn’t think that would be appropriate.
” I think what you’re looking at is general-wise. I’ve always been working for the board so I think we’d decide as a group what you would want me to look into. I would coordinate efforts with (county maintenance staff).”
Fedler said the board didn’t need to get everything done this year, but take it by priority and then spread it out over the next year or so.
Matt Pflug turned the conversation to security and asked Hanson what his thoughts were on the security.
“We could come and talk to them and come up with some positions as we move forward,” Hanson said.
“Main recommendation from homeland security was they liked the way the south courthouse was set up with archways that keep customers from employees,” Fulluo said.
Folluo also reminded the board that security corrections cannot be paid for with Local Options Sales Tax Funds, those could only be used for maintenance improvements.
The board will meet again at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Lee County offices in Montrose.