Bids to be sought for interior remodeling of courthouse

PAXTON — The Ford County Public Building Commission plans to seek bids next month for the interior remodeling of the courthouse’s offices and other work in “a long list of things to be done,” said the commission’s chairman, Ron Shapland of rural Cullom.

The commission on Monday afternoon approved adding up to $15,000 more in costs to the project, which is estimated to take up to six months to complete.

The project calls for new carpeting, windows, window coverings and ceiling fans in all offices; the replacement of lights in the first-floor lobby and in the main courtroom; the installation of handicapped-accessible counters in all offices on the first floor; the rearranging and removal of furniture in the circuit clerk’s office; and the construction of a kitchenette in the courthouse’s basement.

The repair of damaged interior walls and ceilings will also be done.  Also, the “cage” wall that links the treasurer’s office to the county clerk’s office will be removed, allowing access between the two offices.

A new roof would also be installed at the Ford County Correctional Facility, and a retaining wall would be added in front of the jail to discourage pedestrian traffic in certain areas.

A draft of a schedule for the work shows a tentative start date in May and a completion date in December.

The schedule is flexible, stressed John Grice, construction manager for Gorski-Reifsteck Architecture, Champaign, which is coordinating the project.

Grice said he would try to work with department heads to minimize the disruption that would occur in their offices during construction.

Judge Steve Pacey earlier told Grice that he had concerns about the draft schedule. Pacey said the schedule is “not going to work very well” when the work in the judge’s office is to occur “before, during and after a jury calendar.”

It is possible that court may have to be held in the small courtroom while work is being done on the main courtroom’s lighting, Grice had told Pacey.

Grice said he would meet with Pacey to work out an acceptable schedule.

The commission set another meeting, tentatively, for 4 p.m. March 4 to review a revised calendar and to approve seeking bids for the project.

Shapland said separate bids will be sought for separate portions of the project, rather than seeking one bid from a general contractor.

Bonds will be issued to cover the cost, Shapland said.

This will be the second major project undertaken by the building commission in the past few months. Earlier this winter, the commission funded a $153,440 project involving the repair of sidewalks around the courthouse and jail, the resurfacing of a small parking lot in front of the jail and the replacement of the parking lot behind both facilities.

Location (3):Local, Paxton, Ford County

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