Courthouse repairs underway

By Alex Bridges

More repairs to the Warren County Courthouse should begin this week.

County Project Manager Jeffrey Hayes said Friday he expects the contractor to start work today to replace the roof of the building section constructed in 1930. The work shouldn’t disrupt court proceedings, Hayes said.

The county recently awarded a $73,532 contract for the roof repairs specifically in sections A-E of the facility. The county also plans to replace the heating/air conditioning/ventilation system — roof units and furnaces. The Board of Supervisors likely will authorize county officials to award the contract for that work at its meeting on Wednesday.

The county recently received bids from Southern Air and Aire Serve for the HVAC replacement. Hayes explained that county officials reviewed the offers but disqualified Southern Air’s offer to do the project for $336,999 because its bid package did not contain all the information required.

Most of the roof units are 15-18 years old, Hayes said. At some point it becomes cheaper to replace the failing units than to repair them, he said. The new units will be more energy-efficient, Hayes added. The project also includes installation of humidifiers to replace the eight to 10 devices in use throughout the building.

Previously completed improvements to the courthouse include:

  • Structural upgrades to courtroom “A” at a cost of $35,183 in May 2011
  • A tin roof, and painting in courtroom “A” for $17,600 in Oct 2011
  • Security improvements at a cost of $132,713 in January 2012
  • Installation of acoustical tile in courtroom “A” for $77,932 in Jun 2013
  • Courthouse fascia and paint repair for $73,500 in Oct 2013

The last project proposed for the courthouse for the time being calls for improvements to the courthouse holding area and the old jail. The county cosed the jail when the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail opened this summer.

Sheriff Daniel McEathron has proposed that the county turn the old jail, specifically the recreation area, into temporary holding cells for defendant waiting to appear in court.

However, the lowest bid for the holding area project came in too high, Hayes said. County officials did not award a contract.

“We are looking at the plans to see what we can change, see where the high cost was and back up and regroup,” Hayes said.

McEathron suggested the county look at the possible benefit of building the project in phases, Hayes said.

Information from Deputy County Administrator Bob Childress showed that all three bids received exceeded the estimated $200,000 cost for the holding area project.

Lantz Construction of Winchester offered the lowest bid of $488,400 that county officials did not consider because the submission did not comply with the instructions, Childress said. Howard Shockey & Sons Inc. submitted the official low bid of $500,618. Lantz Construction in Broadway offered to build the project for $551,600.

The sheriff’s office is using part of the old jail to hold prisoners for court. But the county has had to work on problems with the plumbing in the former jail, Hayes said. County personnel have removed a cage and a desk from the existing holding area to free up space for prisoners. Workers also removed equipment from the kitchen in an effort to cut costs, Hayes said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com