December 31, 2009

McLean County Courthouse conundrum

McLean County Courthouse conundrum
Proposed improvements could cost $3 million
By STU MERRY

Drip, drip, drip. How much more?
With improvements made so far to the McLean County Courthouse, it is estimated it could take another $3 million more to get the facility structurally sound.
County officials heard it could cost close to $1 million to restore the exterior of the McLean County Courthouse and to install a drain tile system alone. That’s the word from Al Fitterer, architect, PC. Fitterer met with county officials Dec. 21, sharing a report on his findings. Fitterer said the intent of the report is to provide commissioners with data to make an informed decision on the future use of the original (1907/17) sections of the courthouse. Total cost for all proposed improvements could reach $3 million.
In the past few years more than $250,000 has been funneled into making improvements to the structure. Those improvements include a new roof, boiler replacement, heat pumps, lighting, soffit and fascia and sealing the building from bats. Another $1.1 million was spent to add an elevator and create new clerk of court and states attorney office space.
Exterior water proofing, masonry restoration, window replacement and improving drainage away from the building is one of the biggest expenses to maintaining the stability of the structure. Mechanical and electrical should also be completely redone, Fitterer recommended. That cost is not included in the estimate, nor is the price for repairing the stairs. Air quality also is a concern.
Where the building sits there continues to be movement – even after nearly 100 years. Fitterer said with proposed improvements he doesn’t’ guarantee that the building would not continue to move.
 


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