County continues remodel talks

Commissioners may tackle courthouse project in phases

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With many factors to consider in a courthouse remodel project, the Moffat County commissioners said this week that instead of taking on one big project, it would have to be done in phases.

The commissioners met with Jon Schler, of the Colorado Center for Community Development, and Tim Sarmo, regional manager of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).

The two agencies, respectively, are assisting in the planning and funding of the project.

While the original plan was to begin work sometime this spring in moving a commissioner's meeting room to the basement of the building, those plans might be put on hold.

"There's a lot of issues we haven't touched on," said Schler of the investigation into the courthouse's layout. "We've just hit spots in the building. I don't think we can say, 'Here's the best way to do it.'"

An architecture graduate student from the University of Colorado at Denver had been working on the project planning.

Schler said there are many issues that need to be addressed.

"I would not trust the graduate students to do some of these things," he said.

One main issue that Schler thought should be addressed was the number of entrances to the building.

"You have so many ways of getting in and out of this building," he said. "I think you might want to look at security."

Moffat County Commissioner Les Hampton thought that was a good idea.

"If we're going to prioritize this, I think that our priority should be access into the building," Hampton said. "I think there's some safety issues there."

Moffat County had been approved for a $50,000 grant from DOLA for the project, of which they had to match dollar for dollar.

Sarmo said DOLA could work with the county in its plans.

"Maybe you don't want to do a comprehensive remodel but, instead, do it in phases," he said. "I think your first step is the security step."

Schler said the courthouse has much wasted space, which could be better used if a remodel was done correctly.

"The entry way is a considerable waste of space," he said.

Director of Administrative Services Debra Murray agreed that the project should be done in phases and suggested the Courthouse Annex across the street be sold to help fund the project.

Commissioner Hampton said he liked the idea.

"I would like us to look at that facility across the street and make a decision," he said.

Commissioner Darryl Steele also suggested that the efficiency of the building's heating and cooling system be investigated.

With a number of issues on the table, Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos agreed that the county should wait before it jumps into a big project.

"We can't afford to do this all at once," Raftopoulos said. "It would have to be a phased project."

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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