Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Victoria Fowler
Gazette Reporter 

Discussions continue on courthouse upgrades

 

March 12, 2020



Brandy Dean, county facilities management director, Monday presented to the county commissioners an update on the courthouse and jail upgrades and replacement project that is planned for later this year.

The upgrade and replacement projects are to be completed by McKinstry Co., which is a construction engineering company that is headquartered in Seattle, but also has offices in Spokane and Pasco.

Upgrades and replacements are being considered for roofing, HVAC, elevator, windows and doors, plumbing, electricity, jail facade, generators, cabling, etc.

Dean said she will be meeting with McKinstry Co. on Tuesday, March 10, to specifically talk about changes to the elevator.

“This is the last step before they are going to be able to put numbers and things together for us,” Dean said. She mentioned how McKinstry Co. had been having a hard time getting the architect and one of the contractors to meet, which has caused some initial delays. “After tomorrow we will move more quickly than we have been.”

The courthouse portion of the project is projected to be completed in three phases. Phase one would be the second floor of the courthouse and phases two and three would be the two wings downstairs.

Originally, it was planed for the second floor to be momentarily displaced, in sections, for approximately 10 weeks. After further discussion especially regarding the elevator, Dean said they believe it would take longer than the 10 weeks and would want to move the entire second floor in one phase.

“After long discussions, the noise is going to be so bad upstairs that if we try to keep one wing open it would be so distracting for one of the courts, it wouldn't work,” Dean said. “We are just moving towards the idea of the whole top floor being one phase.”

Dean mentioned how she is working with the Information Technology Department on figuring out how to get everybody situated during the construction.

Along with noise being an occurrence during the second floor projects, it will also have an effect in the courthouse as a whole.

“When they go to do the new elevator it will be very loud,” Dean said. “They are going to go by the state's idea of what is too loud, that's a certain decibel of noise and that's what they'll adhere to as construction goes and it will be very disruptive.”

There is still no set date for when the projects are to be started.

Along with start time, there hasn't been a finalized cost for the entire project. It is originally estimated that the entire project, including sales tax, would cost roughly $8.5 million.

Dean mentioned that after Tuesday's meeting with McKinstry Co. they will be completing its last step, speaking with the final contractor. She said this contractor would have a week to get prices in.

The Board of County Commissioners would be presented with a contract that suitable for signing possibly by the end of March or beginning of April.

 

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