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Floyd County supervisors discuss options in courthouse updates

By Bob Steenson, [email protected]

With the new Floyd County Law Enforcement Center nearing its opening, the focus is shifting to updates at the courthouse and coordinating that work while the county offices continue operating.

One part of that is installing ductwork throughout the courthouse to connect to the new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system in the law enforcement center.

A likely option is for the crew from Young Plumbing and Heating, of Waterloo, to start early in the morning so most of the noisiest work is done by 9:30 a.m. each day, said Supervisor Linda Tjaden at the county board’s regular meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Some changes are being required in how the courthouse work proceeds, because much of it was originally planned to take place during summer and fall. Delays in completing the LEC have pushed the courthouse work to the winter.

Most of the existing radiators and steam pipe in the building will be left in place until mid-April, Tjaden said.

Other parts of the update include all new windows in the courthouse, adding a fire suppression sprinkler system, cutting through the exterior of the courthouse to make hallway connections to the new atrium between the courthouse and the LEC, and some renovations to move a couple of the county offices to different locations.

The atrium “stack” includes two new elevators – one for public use and one for use exclusively by the Sheriff’s Office, including to transfer detainees between the buildings. There will also be new handicapped-accessible restrooms serving each floor of the courthouse.

The original plan had been to start much of the courthouse work on the fourth floor, where the current jail and Sheriff’s Office are located, then move down floor by floor, but there will be a lot of demolition work needed on the fourth floor once the detainees are transferred and the Sheriff’s Office moves out, said County Auditor Gloria Carr.

One plan for the ductwork installation would be to take half of two floors, such as the north half of the first and second floors and finish that, then move to the south half of each floor, then do the same thing on the third and fourth floors, Tjaden said.

Asbestos abatement needs to be done on various parts of the courthouse, including in the caulking and glazing of the existing windows, before work can be done in those areas.

The plan is for the asbestos removal company to shield off each window, remove the window and asbestos-containing materials, then the window company can quickly follow and install the new window while the asbestos company moves on to the next window.

Eventually, a couple of county offices will also be relocated as part of the updates. Once the fourth floor is renovated, the County Attorney’s Office, Clerk of Court and state corrections office will move up there.

The County Assessor’s Office will move to the second floor, to make that the “tax floor” with the County Treasurer’s Office, County Recorder’s Office and County Auditor’s Office.

County Mental Health will move from offsite to space on the first floor, and Veterans Affairs will also move up to the first floor.

In many cases the offices will relocate into space that is already there, rather than having extensive renovations take place.

Also at the meeting Tuesday, the supervisors:

• Extended the interim county engineer contract with WHKS & Co. of Mason City for 60 more days while the county continues to look for a new county engineer. Scott Sweet, a WHKS vice president and professional engineer, has been doing the required work for the county and said he had put in about five hours since the contract started in October.

• Held a public meeting regarding an amendment to the current fiscal year 2021-22 county budget. No comments were received prior to or made at the hearing, and the board passed a resolution approving the amendment.

• Held a public hearing on new county voting precincts. No comments were received prior to or made at the hearing, and the county passed the second reading of the new precinct ordinance, waiving the third reading and making the ordinance official.

Auditor Carr said the ordinance and proof of publication would now be sent to the Iowa Secretary of State Office, and if that office approves the precincts it will send them to the state Legislative Services Agency, which will use them to draw the three county supervisor districts that will be in effect for the next elections.

Carr said she hopes that process goes swiftly, as there is a special election in March for Charles City voters and rural Floyd County voters to decide on a referendum whether to approve a new local option sales tax for another 10 years, and she needs to send postcards to registered voters telling them their voting information.

• Appointed Tammy Elthon to a seat on the Charles City Area Development Corp. board to replace Marlowe Jung for the remainder of her term, until Dec. 31, 2022.

• Re-appointed Dean Tjaden to another 5-year term on the Floyd County Zoning Commission, to end Dec. 31, 2026.

• Re-appointed Teresa Stevens-Marth to another 5-year term on the Floyd County Board of Adjustment, to end Dec. 31, 2026.

• Noted the hiring of Dylan Isakson as a county deputy effective Jan. 1. Isakson is currently a Charles City police officer and prior to that was a Floyd County jailer.

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