Courthouse remodel study almost complete

Klipp, a Denver-based company, will have all it needs after a visit next week to prepare a final cost estimate for building courtrooms at the Moffat County Public Safety Center and renovating the Moffat County Courthouse.

Kin DuBois, a principal with the Front Range firm, plans to visit Craig on Tuesday with project architect Mary Morissette and a cost estimator. It will be the company's last visit before presenting its final recommendations to the Moffat County Commission in about a month.

The project is extensive, DuBois said.

His company will propose how the county could build a 35,000- to 45,000-square-foot addition to the Safety Center, as well as two or three ways to remodel the basement and third floors of the courthouse.

"The end result is to come up with a concept for both buildings with enough detail to have reliable construction costs the commissioners can use to decide if this is something they want to pursue or not," DuBois said.

Officials intend for a Safety Center addition to take in all parts of the court system: the courtrooms themselves, judge's chambers, jury suites, court clerk offices, the probation department, youth services and the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

"The area (of the addition) might be bigger than what the commissioners initially thought, but that's the result of all the offices we want to move," DuBois said.

The other half of the project would be what DuBois characterized as a "comprehensive" remodel inside the courthouse.

Moffat County Social Services would relocate to the basement level, displacing several county offices, which would take up residence on the vacated court level on the third floor.

DuBois said the courthouse remodel wouldn't require any major work beyond knocking down old walls and putting new ones up.

It's still something of a challenge, though.

"We're trying to work within the structure, which is kind of difficult because it's an old building built on top of an older building," he said.

The commission won't decide whether to pursue anything in Klipp's final plans until it receives a cost estimate, County Budget Analyst Tinneal Gerber said.

Officials have described Klipp's portion of the project - to produce architectural and engineering plans, as well as the necessary cost estimate - as an initial step to explore options.

The county paid 25 percent of the company's $150,000 contract, with the remaining $112,500 coming from a Colorado Department of Local Affairs energy impact grant.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com.

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