Archive for Thursday, April 5, 2001

Leavenworth County Commissioners ponder renovation plan for courthouse

April 5, 2001

The Leavenworth County Commissioners approved a proposal Tuesday that could possibly lead to second-floor renovations of the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

The commissioners unanimously passed a motion for Shaughnessy, Fickle and Scott, an architecture firm, to complete an architectural survey and bid documents for the courthouse. The firm will also survey all courthouse department heads to outline the needs of each department, said a firm representative.

The architectural survey would be the first step in renovating the courthouse, which was built in 1911. Because of the building's age, the courthouse is on the National Historical Register and any renovations to the building would not compromise that standing, according to the plan.

Architects also say improvements should be made to the courthouse sidewalks, front and rear entrances, and rotunda restrooms. The commissioners said those areas were not in the plans for future renovation, but they would keep them in mind.

One of the commission's concerns was to find a plan that would allow departments more space within the courthouse without destroying its' historical integrity.

"The building is not in use as much as it once was because of the Justice Center," Commissioner Bob Adams said. " But, we still need more space because of the amount of records we have to keep."

Prior work on the building was handled in-house and the commissioners thought it would be helpful to get an outside agency to provide a fresh perspective, Commissioner Don Navinsky said.

Adams asked firm representatives if they would be consulting the Leavenworth Historical Society before making any recommendations. The representatives indicated they would consult with the local historical society to make sure that none of the original architecture of the building is affected through their survey recommendations.

Another reason for wanting to renovate the courthouse was to find space for a county commissioner meeting room, individual offices for the commissioners and an area to have executive sessions.

Architects will present the commissioners with several options for renovations and can tailor the needs of the departments to fit the renovation plans. Preliminary work on the plans should begin in a week or two.

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