County Board advised on Courthouse repairs

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic
Historic Henry County Courthouse

The Henry County Board met on Thursday the 21st via teleconference. All Board members were in attendance.

They first addressed a multi-phase project that is underway with Klingner and Associates. Phase 1 currently addresses security permitting systems within the Jail and the Governmental Center. This phase will be going out for bids soon.

Phase 2 will be regarding HVAC for the Courthouse , Governmental Center, old and new Jail. The preliminary finding of the Engineers is that the entire HVAC system in both the new and old Jail, and the entire Courthouse will need to be replaced, as most of it has outlasted it's useful and productive lifespan. Ductwork and piping in the new jail is salvageable, and the ductwork in the Courthouse is also salvageable. The existing boiler system would be replaced with an efficient hot water system. The estimated cost for this portion of the project would be approximately $720,000. This figure would include a natural gas generator to power the Courthouse when interruptions occur. There is a possibility of Energy Efficiency Grants to offset the cost. The Administrator will research those. The Engineering study for Phase 2 is going to be $102,400. 

Klingner also has completed an evaluation of the exterior of the complex. Roofs were done in 1997, and are nearing the end of their productive life. Roof replacement should co-ordinate with the HVAC replacement, as many of the units would harooftop placement. The masonry, tuck pointing and some water damage was observed. Klingner advises a 10 year building master plan, sequencing projects based on immediate necessity. A spokesman for Klingner and Associates referred to the multi phase approach to the refurbishment as "eating  the elephant", best done a piece at a time.  

Board member Ned Richards stated that according to his recollection, the courthouse roof was done sometime in 1992 or1993.

As an historic building, the Courthouse has its own collection of needs, in maintaining the visual integrity of the building. Klingner has historic preservation architects on staff for the restoration of elements like the Courthouse bell tower, which needs to have the wooden structure redone, and the 6' bell rehung in the belfry. A crane would be necessary for that portion of the renovations, and other segments of the project that also required the crane could be handled at that time. Besides new roofing on all portions of the Courthouse complex, many of the windows on the old structure are in need of attention. Klingner thinks the roofs should be addressed once the HVAC is complete.

$1 million has already been set aside in the budgeting process for capital improvements.

Member Bill Preston cautioned that the Board exercise caution regarding the courthouse improvements. "Because we have it doesn't mean we should spend it all."

The Board was cautioned against taking a piecemeal approach to the repairs, and reminded that in a multi phase approach they could pick and choose the most immediate projects. The motion to move forward with having Klingler draw up plans for the entire complex was passed, with Bill Preston as the dissenting vote. 

In other business, Hillcrest Home will purchase two hospital grade blanket warmers, in the amount of $18274. These will be paid for out of Covid funds. 

Most of the Hillcrest residents have had the Covid vaccine, and they are admitting new residents.  There are no active cases at this time. 

The Transportation Department will purchase a 2021 Ford Explorer in the amount of $29,665.  It replaces a 2013 Dodge.

Jim Kelly, Economic Development Director announced four more CRLF loans to local businesses, Paula's Design of Kewanee, Leahman's Bar & Grill in Geneseo, Time Out Bar & Grill in Kewanee and All Steamed Up Coffee in Cambridge.