Lake County’s Board of Commissioners continued their discussion of facilities assessment for the courthouse building during a Tuesday, April 9, special work session.
At present, the consensus by the board is the roofing project and HVAC/air-handling system needs are two projects that need to be addressed first and foremost.
As well, the county agreed that outside holistic assessment of the building’s overall condition is needed prior to looking toward internal changes once the library vacates its current site.
Factors brought forth by Commissioner Ken Kestner included the corrections department, which includes both juvenile and adult components. Other concerns discussed by the board, as a whole, include the potential for expanding the jail out of a need for additional space.
Commissioner Brad Winters noted the establishment of parameters for a formal assessment need to be established before ideas and suggestions can be considered on what changes need to be made.
“We’ve got to put those side boards on before we scope it,” he said.
Logistical elements cited as examples included locating community justice near the jail and the assessor’s office proximity to the clerk’s office, among others.
Winters noted that adult corrections and public health are departments in which the county pays rent, as they are located outside the courthouse in the Marius Building. He said he would like to see this potentially addressed in the proposed facilities revamp.
Priorities, overall, are the primary matter of consideration once the commissioners reach a point on logistical details of potential space usage, Winters said. He noted that the jail has been among his priorities for a number of years.
Kestner asked the county’s building inspector, Tony West, if the courthouse was seismically safe against earthquake events.
West said he did not believe this to be the case, despite some columns added in the 1980s era. His professional opinion was the courthouse would not meet seismic qualifications.
Shoun suggested evaluating all three floors of the building as part of the assessment process for the sake of thoroughness.
West also suggested the county “go full steam ahead” with the roofing and air-handling system projects. Specifically with the HVAC system, he noted this as an immediate need within the jail that must be addressed.
West also said he felt the courthouse was a good building, and the jail will always be the most extreme use of it.
Guest James Ross asked the commissioners if the public had an opportunity to vote on the projects. Kestner said the public voted their confidence in electing the commissioners into their respective positions in order to make decisions through the budgeting process.