Starke County Officials to Get Courthouse Renovation Update

starke-county-courthouseStarke County officials will have a better idea after tonight of what proposed renovations to the old jail and courthouse will look like and cost. Representatives from DLZ and Skillman Corporation will present plans to the council and commissioners. They designed and built the new jail east of Knox on State Road 8.

The cost of justice-related projects will be covered with funds from the county economic development income tax passed to pay for jail construction. Other improvements will be paid for out of the general county economic development income tax fund. The prosecutor, clerk and Starke County Community Corrections will also contribute money from their budgets to cover portions of the project. The amounts of their respective contributions are not known at this time.

Plans call for the former jail building to be turned into office space for Starke County Community Corrections and the probation department. Purdue Extension will move from the courthouse into the basement. The county morgue will also be housed there.

The first and second floor of the courthouse will be renovated to accommodate the prosecutor’s office and the clerk of the circuit court. Electrical upgrades are also proposed for the building, along with exterior tuckpointing and repainting and sealing of the second and third floor windows.

A previously announced timeline would have the work starting in the spring and wrapping up by the end of next year.

Other items on tonight’s council agenda include a public hearing request for an additional appropriation for the highway department, adoption of a salary ordinance for 2016, transfer requests from the county extension office and EMS and presentations from IU Health Starke Hospital President Craig Felty and Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver.

The council and commissioners are both scheduled to make appointments to the board of zoning appeals, and the council will also fill a library board vacancy. The commissioners agenda includes consideration of an agreement for monitoring of the old landfill site, a performance evaluation for the county health department sanitarian and approval of a county extension Purdue agreement.

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler will share price quotes for equipment purchases, Sheriff Bill Dulin will request approval of a contract for a company to process inmate medical forms, Recorder Lisa Minix will follow up on a request for a vendor who is digitizing property records to have 24-hour access and Coroner Dannie Hoffer will be back to talk about a radio request for his department. \

The council meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room at the annex and will be followed by the commissioners meeting.