Renovations to the Starke County Courthouse and former jail in downtown Knox are on track to start in July and conclude by the end of the year. The county commissioners last night approved design and development documents for the project. Plans call for the old jail to be renovated into office space for Starke County Community Corrections, the probation department and Purdue Extension.
The courthouse will be reconfigured to accommodate the prosecutor’s office on the first floor and give the clerk’s office additional space on the second level. Public access to the building would be restricted to one door, and metal detectors would be installed.
Plans also call for repairs to exterior and interior window sills, exterior tuckpointing, replacement of broken window panes and improvements to the restroom facilities. One alternate proposal would install four new furnaces in the courthouse basement to provide air conditioning to the first floor. Adding air conditioning to the second floor is more challenging due to the plaster walls of the historical structure. The commissioners asked the architect to look into the feasibility of doing so. An existing attic unit cools the third floor.
Representatives from architectural design firm DLZ will meet with representatives of the Starke County Historical Society as soon as possible to discuss the details of the project. Final design cost estimates are due May 27th. The commissioners will approve and authorize bidding on June 6th and award contracts on July 5th. Phased construction is tentatively scheduled to start July 18th and wrap up by Dec. 30th.