The Pulaski County Courthouse elevator should finally be ready for use tomorrow. “The state inspector will be here on Thursday, inspect the elevator,” Maintenance Director Jeff Johnston told the county council and commissioners Monday. “The elevator will be operational Thursday afternoon, I’m hoping.”
Over the past several months, crews have completely replaced the old elevator with a larger one that can more easily fit people using wheelchairs. The project was part of Pulaski County’s response to a class action lawsuit alleging a lack of accessibility in its government buildings. The original legal agreement called for the elevator to be installed by the end of September, but the project encountered delays, most notably a fire alarm issue that, so far, has pushed back the opening by more than a month.
During Monday’s meeting, Johnston blamed the issue on a misunderstanding on the part of the fire alarm subcontractor. “I’m fairly certain we could have been on time, had we had that fire alarm installed like it was supposed to, but I think there was a misunderstanding,” he said. “They thought it was supposed to be one type and it wasn’t, and they went with what they thought rather than verifying it. So that’s why we’re here waiting on the elevator to be completed.”
The lack of an elevator has caused government meetings to be held at the County Highway Garage since March, while various offices have had to make arrangements for those who couldn’t use the stairs. Meetings should be able to move back to the commissioners meeting room in the courthouse starting with Monday morning’s commissioners meeting.
The elevator is designed in such a way that it could be moved to the County Annex Building, if proposals to replace the courthouse with an addition to the Justice Center were to move ahead.