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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ind. Courts - "Dearborn Co. Council Wants Further Discussion On Courthouse"

Mike Perleberg of EagleCounty 99.3 reported yesterday in a story that begins:

Plans for an expansion of the Dearborn County Courthouse in Lawrenceburg are being put on hold – for now – over concerns that architects’ proposals may be more than what is needed.

“More” as in close to double the square footage that may have been previously recommended.

Meeting for the first time since a presentation from architects with DLZ Services and Maxwell Construction in November, Dearborn County Council members voiced concerns Tuesday evening that the options they’ve been presented may be too pricey and not adequately address the parking problem around the county government campus.

Council members did not deny that new space is needed for crowded county workers at the current courthouse in Lawrenceburg. But, some council members did have questions for the architects.

“I have a serious problem with some of this,” said council member Dennis Kraus, bringing up a previous email from project leaders that said about 20,000 more square feet was needed.

“From what I’ve seen it’s anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 or more square feet. I have a hard time understanding how it gets to be twice as big,” Kraus said.

Scott Carnegie, an architect with DLZ Services, explained that most of the square footage in the expansion structure is in an unfinished basement. He said the 20,000 square foot space need estimate from Maxwell construction were of net square footage – in other words not accounting for walls, doors, and other objects – while DLZ’s estimate of the expansion was for gross square footage.

Carnegie added that a basement area was necessary because of the topography of the land between the 1870 courthouse and the administration building. Without a basement, part of the area would have to be filled in with dirt to support the structure.

Councilman Bill Ullrich suggested that perhaps the unfinished basement could instead become a parking garage beneath the annex.

If and when it comes time to fund construction, council may be leaning towards using all or some of its roughly $8 million in riverboat savings. But some council members are hesitant.

“We’re going to come to a point where we are going to be out of riverboat money and we’re going to be laying people off in this county. I don’t want to be on this board and have to make that decision where we build an $11 million courthouse while we lay 100 people off,” said councilman Charlie Keyes.

The story includes a link to the architects' 30-page presentation.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 15, 2015 09:53 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts