Two renovation projects involving county owned government buildings — which, combined, will cost in excess of $500,000 — will get underway in the spring.

The Bartholomew County Commissioners announced Monday that they are involved in plans to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the County Courthouse.

“It’s going to be a big project, at between $400,000 and $600,000,” commissioners chairman Carl Lienhoop said.

Commissioners also are prepared to spend an estimated $150,000 to replace the roof of the Bartholomew County Government Office Building at Third and Franklin streets.

The air conditioning system at the courthouse, which is about 25 years old, has reached the end of its expected lifespan, Lienhoop said.

“We’re at the mercy of that old unit,” he said. “The windows don’t even open in the courthouse anymore.”

The commissioners are hopeful to award a bid for the new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system after the first of the year and have the work completed before July, commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said.

Although that system has reached its expected life, the same cannot be said about the current roof on the government office building, the commissioners said.

The last time a contractor was hired to put a new roof on the four-story county government office building was 15 years ago.

“We should have gotten 20 to 25 years out of this roof,” Lienhoop said. “We might have gotten taken a little bit.”

The commissioners Monday approved a $14,250 consulting and design contract with DLZ Indiana Inc., an Indianapolis-based engineering and architectural firm, to design and oversee replacement of the roughly 50-by-150-foot roof.

A preliminary inspection indicates areas of standing water under the current roof that are creating leaks, DLZ engineer Charlie Day said.

The water problems likely are the result of improperly fitted metal covers used for weatherproofing and sealing that are placed at the edge of the roof or at other obstructions, Lienhoop said.

A 20-year warranty will be required from the contractor hired to replace the roof, Day said.

Neither of these projects address the county’s largest building problems, however.

A report issued last February stated it would take millions of dollars to do necessary exterior courthouse work, as well as replace or renovate the county highway garage.

But efforts to start addressing those larger projects won’t begin until January, Bartholomew County Auditor Barb Hackman said.

That’s when the county council will begin setting priorities as part of a three- to five-year capital improvement plan, as well as consider funding options Hackman said.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.