Commissioners briefed on $7M upgrades to county’s properties

Commissioners briefed on $7M upgrades to county’s properties

Representatives of Millig Design Build of Lawrence, Kan., briefed the Logan County Commissioners on progress on the $7 million updates needed on the county’s properties.

The updates include all of the county’s buildings in two phases. Phase 1 will focus on the Justice Center, with other work being done at the fairgrounds, the Heritage Center and the Road and Bridge complex at an estimated cost of $3.3 million. Phase 2, estimated to cost $3.7 million, will cover the Courthouse and Annex.

Much of the renovation will take place at the Logan County Justice Center where, the commissioners have learned, corners were cut to keep costs down. Now those savings are costing the county hundreds of thousands of dollars in heating and cooling costs and may even be making employees there sick.

Aaron Tilden, senior development engineer in Millig’s Denver office, and Dan Nguyen, an engineer in Tilden’s office, told the commissioners that replacing rooftop units and controls on the Justice Center will cost $1.4 million, with another $100,000 needed to update the electrical wiring and strengthen the rooftop to handle the much heavier new units.

Tilden said the units that were originally installed are covered “literally, with tin foil, the sheet metal is so thin,” and they are inefficient. Chance Wright, the county’s building and grounds supervisor, agreed with Tilden that the county should go with much higher quality units, since the county can afford it.

The new HVAC units and new lighting throughout the Justice Center should eliminate some of the discomfort employees feel working there. Tilden said his company’s assessment of the center showed that workers there complain of getting headaches shortly after arriving for work. Tilden said it’s entirely possible the old fluorescent lighting could be partly responsible for that. Commissioner Joe McBride confirmed that, when he worked for the Sheriff’s Office, he would usually turn off the overhead lighting in his office and just use a desk lamp to avoid discomfort.

Tilden said new wiring is needed in much of the Justice Center because the original wiring is too small to handle the HVAC load. Tilden said he’s puzzled why the current units aren’t “popping the breakers” constantly. Pelton, a master electrician by trade, opined that the units probably aren’t pulling their full load, which is saving the breakers.

Other parts of Phase 1 are new stadium lighting at the fairgrounds, new HVAC at the Heritage Center, new light poles at Road and Bridge and new parking lot lighting at the fairgrounds.

Phase 2 will include new HVAC, ventilation, sewer and windows in the Courthouse and new HVAC for the Annex. Tilden said the Courthouse will be a tough one because of the building’s historic designation. Modernization is allowed, but must be hidden within the original appearance of the building.

A formal proposal with final costs will be presented to the commissioners at their Feb. 8 meeting and should be ready for approval on Feb.15.

The renovations are being paid for in large part by the one-half-cent sales tax originally approved by voters to build the Justice Center. With that being paid off, voters then approved continuing the tax to pay for maintenance and upgrades to county property. That tax is scheduled to be sunsetted in 2025.

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