Architect for Casey Judicial Center quits

May 04, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

LIBERTY - Architecture Plus of Georgetown went out of business without finishing its work on the Casey County Judicial Center and forced the Fiscal Court to hire a new architect and engineering firm.

Judge-Executive Ronald Wright told magistrates Monday night that Architecture Plus notified him by a letter dated March 30 that the business was closed as of March 31.

At the recommendation of the Casey Project Development Board, Fiscal Court hired Brighton Architect and Engineering Inc. of Frankfort to finish work on the Judicial Center. The firm will be hired at a hourly rate, and the contract is not to exceed $20,000. The money will come from the Judicial Center fund. The court agreed not to pay any bills concerning the center until they have been studied.

"We've still got things that need to be taken care of," said Wright. The overhead door to the garage does not work, the roof leaks, and other things need to be addressed, he said.


In other construction matters, the court hired CMW Architecture Engineering firm in Lexington to design an expansion to the Casey County Detention Center. The firm will be paid 7.5 percent of the total construction costs.

The court voted last month to look into a 40-bed expansion to accommodate additional inmates from Indiana and across the state.

Wright said he has struggled with the decision for the expansion, but he thinks it's the business thing to do since the jail is overcrowded.

"I think it ought to be done," said Magistrate Creech Carman.

His only concern is if the jail could be filled

Wright said his only concern is if the jail could be filled or not. The current 125-bed jail was filled with inmates two weeks after it opened.

"Our jailer has a lot to do with how the jail operates," said Magistrate Gary Johnson. "If we had a jailer that didn't want to do the expansion work, it might be different. He (Jailer Tommy Miller) thinks it could make money."

Wright said if the county adds 40 beds, that could bring in an additional $200,000 annually. "Our big problem now is that we can't continue to operate as it is now."

The jail has been overcrowded for several months and the county has been warned by the state to cut it back to capacity. He said if the jail is brought down to capacity, Fiscal Court will have to pitch in money for operational costs.

"If we are going to operate a jail, at least have it pay for itself," said Johnson.

Wright recommended hiring CMW to do a schematic design and get cost estimates.

Before the decision was made, County Attorney Thomas M. Weddle Jr. questioned hiring the architect and getting bids higher that they want. "Are we still obligated at 7.5 percent of the entire amount (construction costs)?" Weddle asked.

Wright said the expansion is estimated to cost $806,000 and another $60,000 for the design and $12,000 to estimate construction costs.

Before the unanimous approval was given, Wright said it was a big decision. " I want you boys to be satisfied; if not, I'll take the blame."

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