Warren County is moving ahead with a $4.4 million expansion and renovation of juvenile and probate court facilities.
The project is part of a series of improvements planned on most of the buildings in the county government complex in Lebanon. The county also built a new building for prosecutors, elections and emergency services and is about to begin a new jail.
Last May, county commissioners approved a $2.5 million addition to the court section of the complex housing the county detention center and other services.
The project now includes renovation and reconfiguration of the existing court area, separating the public, court and office areas, as well as an expansion including a new courtroom.
The added costs included in the guaranteed maximum price Elevar Design Group and HGC Construction are to be paid include $12,500 for bullet resistant wall protection in both courtrooms and a $15,000 stormwater detention pond.
“There’s no issue with funding this project,” County Administrator Tiffany Zindel told the commissioners during a work session last Tuesday with the contractors and staff.
The guaranteed maximum price is $90,000 more than previously projected, but more than $50,000 less than initially estimated by the contractors.
“It’s money well spent,” facilities manager Trevor Hearn said in response to questions about the need for a separate area for stormwater run-off.
Commissioner Dave Young questioned why the contract price included $10,000 in state construction activity tax, but ultimately joined in the unanimous vote to move forward with the project.
“I’ve been doing these for 14 years. I’ve never seen these. I don’t like it,” Young said.
Representatives for the contractors said it as part of their effort “to be transparent” and explained the cost would otherwise not have been among the line items listed in their presentation.
The county is also beginning construction of a new jail projected to cost more than $50 million on the government campus in Lebanon.
Construction on the expanded juvenile and probate facilities is to begin on Dec. 3 and conclude on Aug. 12, 2019.
The next day, HGC plans to begin work on the renovations, to be completed by Oct. 31.
The entire project is to be wrapped up by Nov. 11.
Judge Joe Kirby said the renovation would make the court more efficient and provide facilities for separate judges presiding over juvenile and probate matters.
“It’s perfect. Thank you,” said Kirby, who presides over probate and juvenile matters in Warren County.
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