Starke Commissioners Authorize Renovation Bid Process

starke-county-jail-outsideThe contractor in charge of the Starke County Courthouse and old jail renovation project is ready to issue construction documents for bid in hopes of wrapping that process up within the month. The commissioners Monday night authorized DLZ to proceed with that process after reviewing the proposed scope of work.

It includes electrical and HVAC upgrades at the courthouse, a streamlined entry, tuckpointing, weather stripping and window maintenance, in addition to reconfiguring the building’s interior. The prosecutor’s office will be relocated from the basement of the old jail to the first floor, and the clerk’s office space on the second floor will be reconfigured.

The old jail will be updated to house Starke County Community Corrections, the probation department and Purdue Extension. Commissioner Kathy Norem says these plans were discussed during the planning process for the current jail east of Knox. At that time county officials made clear their intention to use money from the special county economic development income tax, known as the Jail CEDIT, to reconfigure the old jail.

That money can be used to pay for justice-related renovations and upgrades. Norem says money from the regular county economic development income tax fund will also be used. Additionally Starke County Community Corrections has pledged $100,000 toward the project. The county gave architectural firm Skillman Corporation a $3.5 million budget. Norem says that reflects at least a 15 percent discount over what the county has available to pay for the work and notes the county council unanimously appropriated the money last July.

The project carries an estimated cost of just under $3.4 million.

Bid packets will be finalized by the end of the week. The commissioners expressed a desire to use local contractors wherever possible to complete the work.