County approves contracts to begin courthouse work

Bartholomew County is moving ahead with a major overhaul of the county courthouse.

The county commissioners yesterday approved a construction contract for almost $3.3 million dollars for the work, along with a notice to proceed on the project to its contractor Dunlap & Company.

According to the commissioners, the project will include replacing the pipes in the building along with the heating and cooling system, installing all new lighting, carpet and ceilings, and upgrading the computer cabling throughout the building.

Commissioner Carl Lienhoop estimated that the last time this scale of a project was done was more than 30 years ago. Commissioners President Larry Kleinhenz said that the work will be very disruptive to courthouse offices and the county officials wanted to get it all done at once, rather than stretch the process out.

The project is expected to take just over a year and two months. During the work, the north lane of Jackson Street behind the Bartholomew County courthouse in downtown Columbus has been closed and is being used for a staging area for construction materials.

$2 million in funding for the project is coming from the county general fund, with the rest coming from federal COVID relief funds.