Courthouse remodeling to begin |

Courthouse remodeling to begin

Plans call for greater audience capacity, new offices for commissioners

Paul Shockley

With full funding expected from a state grant to remodel the Moffat County Courthouse, county commissioners could begin meeting in a revamped room in the building’s basement by next spring.

Then again, it could be sometime in 2004, according to Debra Murray, the county’s administrative services director.

“We’re at a stage where we’ve received the grant, but have to work out the details,” Murray said.

Still, somewhere and in some form, the hammers and knocks of remodeling should be heard at the courthouse after the new year.

“Work should begin January and run through March,” Murray added.

A committee with the Department of Local Affairs in late October approved full funding for Moffat County’s $51,677 remodeling project. Commissioners have pledged matching dollars from the capital projects fund in next year’s budget.

Through a Department of Local Affairs-provided architect, Murray said the county is still working out more accurate total cost estimates for the work, done in cooperation with architectural students from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Murray said she couldn’t specify what work would start next year because the county has revised plans for a first phase, which was projected in the grant at about $103,000.

Harder numbers factoring in those revisions may or may not exceed that estimate, she said.

The county, at one time, had wanted to combine its Accounting, Administration and Human Resources departments together in the building’s basement.

However, county officials scaled back plans in favor of only joining accounting and administration in that same room, which is the former home of the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office.

The Human Resources Department is now planned someday to move to an under-used break room on the building’s main level, Murray said.

“We just started to question whether there would be enough room for all three,” said Murray, who prepares financial statements and works with Moffat County’s budget.

“It makes sense to combine the two.”

If costs exceed the originally projected $103,000, she said work for the entire first phase could be broken into two years, although it’s unknown whether the Department of Local Affairs would continue to match funding into a second year.

“The real costs won’t actually go out until professionals are involved and bids go out,” said Tim Sarmo, the Department of Local Affairs’ regional manager.

Addressing commissioners’ cramped meeting quarters is also among top priorities, county officials have said.

Relocation to a revamped Natural Resources Department in the basement an increase of 2,091 square feet from the existing 715 will bring meeting capacity to about 130 attendees, with offices for all three commissioners, a secretary and storage space for filing cabinets and a reception area.

The Natural Resources Department would move to the office that would be vacated by accounting, Murray said.

Commissioners’ new offices, and the joining of accounting and administrative services, comprise the first of several possible phases to overhaul the Moffat County Courthouse, she said.

It was built in 1917.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at

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