Blair County votes to spend on courthouse completion

Commissioners approve orders totalling $27K

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County commissioners voted Tuesday to spend $27,000 on change orders aimed at completing the ongoing courthouse renovations and reopening the closed areas of the second floor.

A week ago, commissioners agreed to extend the contracts to Oct. 31 for five contractors working on renovations. But installation of refinished furnishings will likely keep the second floor closed beyond the contract date.

Commissioner Terry Tomassetti said Tuesday that he remains hopeful that the closed areas of the courthouse will be ready to reopen for use toward the end of the year.

“There are always things that come up in these kind of projects that require adjustments,” Tomassetti said. “But decisions on some of these lesser priority items could have been made earlier in the year. Because they weren’t, that’s what has us scurrying around to get things done so the spaces will be usable.”

Among the change orders approved Tuesday, the county will spend $10,776 to cover the labor cost involved with installation of carpeting in common areas of the second floor hallway.

No additional carpeting needs to be purchased, County Administrator Helen Schmitt said.

The county, earlier this year, arranged to buy commercial grade carpeting for installation in the 1875 courtroom.

Enough carpeting from that task will remain for use in the hallway, Schmitt said.

Commissioners also agreed with paying $9,064 to Albert Michaels Conservation Inc. to complete the replication, repair and restoration of plaster work in the staffing areas beside the 1906 courtroom.

That work is going to address utility-related connections that “butchered the ceiling,” probably in the 1970s, Tomassetti said. That damage had been hidden by a suspended ceiling. The suspended ceiling was removed as part of the ongoing renovations and is not being replaced.

Additional change orders, also for Albert Michaels Conservation Inc., call for $4,758 to put up additional scaffolding for lighting improvements, $1,365 for additional finishing work and $963 to replace a wood window sash in the clocktower.

The county started the courthouse renovation work after commissioning a study, written in 2014, to identify the sources of water infiltration causing exterior and interior damage. That study also outlined the proposed repairs and recommendations.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.