Capital Assets Study on the Starke County Courthouse

Starke County Courthouse

This week we are presenting parts of a report given to Starke County officials assessing County buildings. The report was prepared by RQAW an Indianapolis Consulting and Architecture Firm. Today’s report covers the Starke County Courthouse.

The Courthouse has an issue of limits on space available for some of the offices, particularly the Probation Department, the Clerk and the Magistrate. These functions are located on the second and third floors of the Courthouse.

Some space limitations can be alleviated by more efficient layouts, more efficient record storage and furniture and/or computerization of records and off-site storage. The County has adequate space for off-site record storage at the Glove Factory.

Relocation of the offices on the first floor, which includes Purdue Extension and the Health Department, would free up space in the building for expansion of the other departments. The first floor is subdivided into four small areas that would not allow relocation of an entire department.

Cost of renovations and/or new furniture would be determined by the scope of the renovations. The project could be phased as needed.

Improvements/renovations needed include:
-Renovation of basement toilets and sewer and/or adding accessible toilets on another floor.
-Adding central air conditioning to the first and second floor.
-Repair of tile floors and or structural issues.
-Re-roofing, window replacement and waterproofing as necessary.
-Electronic security upgrades to the building which could include Closed Circuit TV systems, access control and duress alarms.
-Physical security upgrades to the building which could include physical barriers in office areas, a temporary holding area for inmates and separation of public, inmate and staff traffic.

The cost of these would vary widely depending on the scope of the work. The projects that are considered and the expense should be coordinated with the plans to develop a “justice center” in another location. The use of the building should also be planned so that the work that is done will be useful after the court functions leave.

There are other small offices that have indicated a need for space. These include WIC, Community Corrections, EMA and the Coroner.

If additional space is obtained by the County, either by construction or leasing, could any of these departments be included in the new facility? One way to control space use is to include more departments in the building than the core departments so the core departments have room to grow.

Monday, we’ll publish the report on the Highway Department.