Courthouse operations moving to admin building for 3 weeks

The Clinton County Courthouse's upcoming heating and air conditioning infrastructure project has created a need to temporarily move all court proceedings and other operations to the Clinton County Administration Building for an estimated three weeks, beginning April 29. Clinton Herald file photo

CLINTON — An overhaul of the Clinton County Courthouse's HVAC system in upcoming weeks will cause a major shift in the building's operations as work continues, county officials announced Monday.

A replacement project of the courthouse's heating and air conditioning infrastructure will move all court proceedings and other operations to the Clinton County Administration Building for roughly three weeks beginning April 29, according to Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker.

The move comes after officials further examined the courthouse last week, with groups at both the courthouse and the administration building conferring to make the decision. Final details are being discussed, Van Lancker said, with a more intensive plan set to be announced in upcoming days.

Clinton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Srp highlighted a portion of the HVAC project at Monday's board meeting.

"(The new system) is a higher-efficiency system than what we currently have at our courthouse," Srp said. "It was potentially a six- to eight-week impact for the whole of the building if we would have to relocate individual offices one at a time...but that would've been very disruptive to the courthouse operation and the operation of our courts. So it was decided to move all (departments) at one time."

The decision to move all departments at once significantly shortened the project's timeline, allowing full courthouse operations to resume at the courthouse in the three-week window.

Originally expected to cost approximately $622,000, a 10-percent increase is now on the horizon as County Buildings Maintenance Manager Corey Johnson told supervisors Monday that anywhere from a $50,000 to $60,000 change order is in the works to address newly found insulation needs in the building, as well.

Johnson further explained the scope of the project, noting that HVAC work in the courthouse would be confined to the building's ceilings – but in order for workers to move freely and more easily carry out the work, several departments' desks and cubicles would also need to be disassembled and reassembled in the process.

"It's going to be quite a chore of moving stuff," Johnson said Monday.

Regarding the change order request, Johnson explained that he and his colleagues were initially only expected to need to insulate one new utility line in the building's walls; however, after further inspection it was determined that another utility line would need insulation as well.

It's a necessary expense, Johnson and Srp agreed.

"It adds to the scope of our project, but it's also been a contributing factor to the problems we had with the structural issues in the basement of the building," Srp said. "I'm at least happy we've identified (the insulation issue). I don't like the expense particularly, I mean, who does? But if we're going to put all this investment into our building to fix it structurally...we'd be working against us (by not addressing the issue), and that's not a solution anybody desires either."