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Court building renovation discussed

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County is ready to take a step toward renovating a district court building, a project that has been discussed for years and was included in the county’s 2017 bond issue.

Commissioners acknowledged their interest Tuesday in advertising for bids from contractors to renovate the building at 311 Union St., now used by Magisterial District Judge Paula Aigner and staff.

The scope of work includes creation of a new Union Street entrance with larger doors, the replacement of concrete steps and railing to that entrance and window repairs. At the rear of the structure, the project calls for replacing two additional doors, one at the lower level and one at the top of the fire escape, plus new gutters, downspouts, soffit and fascia. Project tasks also include power washing of the entire structure in preparation for painting.

James Pooler, county facilities maintenance coordinator, said his department has addressed some improvements to this building.

“For these kinds of tasks, we need more professional help,” Pooler said.

When commissioners reviewed the project for inclusion in the 2017 bond issue, the expense at that time was listed as $49,100 for exterior and interior improvements and furnishings. The cost of replacing a wooden ramp at the rear of the building was estimated at $34,800.

Information commissioners reviewed Tuesday identified the ramp demolition and replacement as an alternate bid, so it may or may not be accepted after a review of bids for the exterior improvements. Pooler described the project as one that needs to be done.

“This project is long overdue,” he said.

Commissioner Amy Webster said she would like to see this work done or at least have a contractor lined up to undertake the work later this year.

Commissioners Chairman Bruce Erb, who was on the commissioners board when the improvements were discussed for inclusion in the 2017 bond issue, said the bond issue money remains available for this project.

The county also depended on the 2017 bond issue to pay for costs associated with repairs and renovations to the older side of the courthouse and its courtrooms. Other uses of the 2017 bond issue proceeds included the purchase of new voting equipment, building security upgrades and the job classification and salary study.

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