Delaware County Commissioners have approved the request for statements of qualifications for architectural and engineering design services related to the renovation of the historic county courthouse.
“When selecting a design professional, we have to go through the statement of qualification process,” said Jon Melvin, county facilities director, “They submit qualifications, we rank them, and then we start contract negotiations with the top ranked firm.”
According to the county’s new Facilities Master Plan, the historic courthouse on the northwest corner of North Sandusky Street and West Central Avenue will house the new commissioners’ offices, the human resources department, the economic development department, and the Veterans Service Commission.
The cornerstone for the historical structure was laid in May of 1868. The building was ready for occupancy in January of 1870.
Melvin said the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“What kind of timeline are we looking at here Jon? What do you think?” asked Commissioner Jeff Benton.
Melvin told commissioners it will take a couple of months to negotiate contracts.
“We’re looking toward the end of the year to start,” he said.
Melvin told commissioners the design process could take four to six months because the building and the mechanical system would need to be evaluated. He said once construction starts it could take another nine to 12 months to complete.
“It would probably be the beginning of 2019,” he said.
“The intent is to restore it to the historic nature of the building even though it won’t be used for court functions,” Melvin said. “By putting county offices in there, we’re preserving the historic nature of the building. It kind of demonstrates the county’s commitment to maintain that building.”
Melvin said the immediate goal is to reopen the front entrance of the building. He said the rear basement entrance is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and would continue to serve in that capacity. The elevator will be replaced.
Commissioners all agreed that it was important for the front doors to be reopened.
The renovation is part of the county’s new Facilities Master Plan which commissioners voted to accept last Thursday. The plan was authored in partnership with a Columbus-based engineering firm, Star Consultants.
The key factor in the plan’s recommendations is the anticipated purchase of the North Campus of the Delaware Area Career Center, located at 1610 State Route 521, Delaware.
In July, commissioners approved a contract to purchase the DACC North Campus for $1.7 million. The county auditor’s website states that a 128,313-square-foot, single-story structure, built in 1974, is located on the nearly 20-acre campus.
The site will be renovated to house the sheriff’s administrative offices; the county engineer’s office; code compliance; the regional sewer district; Delaware County Regional Planning Commission; facilities management; and the county dog shelter.
Melvin said the move to the new courthouse is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, Nov. 2. The courts will be closed on Friday, Nov. 3, reopening in the new courthouse on Monday, Nov. 6.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.