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Progress continues on Floyd County courthouse updates

Progress continues on Floyd County courthouse updates
Floyd County Courthouse
By Bob Steenson,

The Floyd County Law Enforcement Center and courthouse update project entered its fourth year this month, and is expected to be finished in early 2023.

The project has been on almost every Board of Supervisors meeting agenda since voters approved selling bonds for the project in May 2018 and ground was officially broken in November 2019.

The Floyd County supervisors approved several change orders and heard the weekly report of progress on the courthouse update project at their regular meeting this week.

Brian Shindelar, project superintendent for the project’s construction management company The Samuels Group, updates the county board each week on what the contractor and subcontractors are doing. Work started in the courthouse part of the project on the top floor and has been working its way down.

The old county jail and the sheriff’s office were on the top floor before they moved into the new Floyd County Law Enforcement Center (LEC) in January this year. The fourth floor is now where the County Attorney’s Office and Clerk of Court will be located.

This week the report included:

  • Dean Snyder Construction is working on case work in the third floor jury room and working on wood trim on the third floor.
  • Paulson Electric is working on roughing in walls on first floor and finishing up on second.
  • Work is being done on second floor ductwork and laying out ductwork for first floor.
  • Young Plumbing is working on first floor bathrooms and running piping on the first floor.
  • Personified Insulation is insulating ductwork and piping on second floor.
  • Continental fire is working on fire sprinklers on second floor.
  • Walls are starting to be painted on the second floor this week, and working on the third and fourth floor punch list of remaining small items that need to be completed or fixed.
  • Ceiling grid on the second floor was to be worked on later this week.

The courthouse updates project includes all new exterior windows, new heating and air-conditioning tied into the new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) system in the LEC, a fire suppression sprinkler system, asbestos removal, and a relocation and minor remodeling of several of the courthouse elected officials’ offices.

Voters approved the county bonding up to $13.5 million for the LEC and courthouse project in May 2018, but bids came in more than $4.6 million higher than the project architect had originally estimated. After shaving some costs and coming up with plans for additional funding, ground was broken in November 2019, with completion expected in summer 2021 and a final price in the $18 million range.

COVID-19 pandemic materials shortages and other impacts have been blamed for most of the delay, with the LEC opening in January this year and the courthouse expected to be completed in early 2023.

In addition to work in the courthouse, new restrooms and new elevators are located in the atrium between the courthouse and the new LEC.

Shindelar said there is a holdup on the first floor restrooms because Dean Snyder Construction is waiting for brackets needed for partitions, but the restrooms are near completion.

There are new handicapped-accessible men’s and women’s restrooms in the atrium for each of the five courthouse floors, a new elevator for public use and a private elevator that will only be used by the Sheriff’s Office, primarily to transport detainees from the ground floor jail to the large district courtroom on the third floor or the magistrate’s courtroom on the fourth floor, or for other uses.

(The fourth floor is the top floor in the five-story building, because there is both a ground floor and a first floor.)

The path from the jail to the courtrooms is designed to go from the jail through secure corridors, the private secure elevator and secure vestibules so that detainees should not come into direct contact with the public.

Supervisor Linda Tjaden asked Shindelar how soon the elevators will be ready to be used, and how long it will take to have them inspected once they are finished.

Shindelar said the lobby areas in front of the elevators and the hallways must be completed so that when the elevators are turned over for use the public can use them right away, and they won’t be inspected until that point, but once they are ready for use it shouldn’t take long for the inspector to certify them.

“The electrician’s just got a little bit of work to finish, then the elevator installers themselves will come back like the day before the inspection. They’ll just have to peel some plastic off, clean up the elevators, make sure everything is ready for inspection. They were here a few weeks ago to put in all the buttons and adjust everything,” Shindelar said.

Once the halls and lobbies are done the elevator installer can come back and quickly finish up and the elevator inspector can inspect and certify the elevators that day or the next day, he said,

Also at the meeting this week, the supervisors tabled two agreements, one for a six-month trial of a shared communications and marketing partnership with the city of Charles City, the Charles City Economic Development Authority and the Charles City School District, and the other an amendment to the AMR ambulance service agreement between the city, the county and AMR, to provide service to Nashua for six months while it gets it own ambulance service going.

The supervisors have expressed support for both proposals, but the County Attorney’s Office hasn’t had time to review the latest contracts. The agreements were tabled until the next meeting.

The board did set a public hearing for an amendment to the Southwest Bypass Urban Renewal Area for 9:15 a.m. Monday, Dec. 19, to hear input on a proposal for an economic incentive package for a new Cambrex expansion project.

The company is seeking $400,000 in a 90% six-year property tax rebate on the added value of the property from the project from the TIF district, plus a $48,750 forgivable loan from the city of Charles City and a $22,500 forgivable loan from the Charles City Area Economic Development Corp.

The economic development package also includes $300,000 from the Iowa Economic Development Authority toward the $6.4 million Cambrex project.

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