The Pottawattamie County Courthouse will undergo more than $1.2 million in renovations, along with another $500,000 project to upgrade election counting machines, pending approval by the county’s Board of Supervisors.
The board on Tuesday unanimously set a public hearing for Nov. 5 on the issuance of $1.7 million of general obligation bonds for six projects requested by the Buildings and Grounds Department and the Auditor’s Office.
“These are projects we have to do,” Supervisor Loren Knauss said.
The most expensive will involve installation of fire sprinklers in the ceilings on the first and second floors, as well as the basement. Since it will involve work on the ceilings, new lights and a new air conditioning system will be installed at the same time, said Jim Yochum, head of buildings and grounds. The expected cost is $510,000.
One of the definite “have to do” projects is to bring restrooms up to the standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act, including widening stall doors to 60 inches, Yochum said. Expected cost there is $80,000.
The building’s four elevators will need replacements of some of the control mechanisms that are 1977 vintage, Yochum said. That cost is estimated at approximately $400,000.
Electronic card access will replace keys for 31 doors throughout the building, as well as a nearby building used for storing election materials.
“Card readers give you more security by controlling who is coming and going,” Yochum said, adding that tumblers on the current locks are wearing out.
That project will run about $86,000.
Four county parking lots in the area will be resurfaced with either asphalt or concrete, along with the alley between Fifth and Sixth avenues. The estimated cost of that portion of the renovation plan is $150,000.
The Auditor’s Office is getting new optical scanning machines for counting election results, replacing worn out machines, Auditor Marilyn Jo Drake said.
The public hearing on these projects and the issuance of the $1.7 million in bonds will be held at 10 a.m. on Nov. 5. With board approval, the issuance of the bonds, which is like taking out a loan, will be paid back from the county’s debt services levy.
“We shouldn’t have to increase the (debt) service levy too much, I would think,” board Chairman Scott Belt said.
The bonds are to be paid back over a five- to seven-year period, Drake said.