Funding shrinks courthouse modernization plan

A decrease of available funds and the need to comply with ADA laws has changed some of the projects the county was initially planning on accomplishing at the old courthouse on South Lassen Street.

During the Feb. 28 Lassen County Board of Supervisors meeting, deputy public works director Pete Heimbigner presented the board with an update on the process.

Overall, the scope of the project has been reduced, Heimbigner noted, with some of the funds being shifted to the Riverside Drive office remodel project. What is left is about $500,000 for the total courthouse project, and that, in order to address ADA requirements, means the upgrades have to start outside the building and work their way in.

The board approved the county entering into an agreement with architecture firm Lionakis in December 2015 for architectural and engineering services. From there, the improvements considered to the old courthouse focused on ADA access within the building.

“A major component of the project consisted of the installation of an elevator to provide ADA access to the second floor so that use of the space could be fully utilized,” read a letter to the board from the public works department.
However, due to the reduction in funds, the project to install an elevator was deleted in the scope of improvements. “The ADA improvements required by code and law have a general priority sequence to follow for implementation. Currently the architect is building the priority list based on the available budget. Plans and specifications will then be developed for bidding and project implementation. The plans made for the courthouse, however, will still be valuable to the project Heimbigner said. The process will just be completed in
phases as the funds are available.

“It’s just going to take us longer to get to the place we want to be,” said County Administrative Officer Richard Egan.

The supervisors did not take any action during the agenda item.