County commissioners take up renovation projects

In their final public meeting of the year, the Bartholomew County Commissioners took steps to address two significant renovation projects in 2018.

The most expensive involves replacing an underground chiller and two boilers at the Bartholomew County Courthouse.

That work will likely cost about $425,000, DLZ Indiana engineer Charlie Day told the commissioners Monday. His estimate comes from a life-cycle cost analysis that Day and his firm were commissioned to do in November 2016.

On Monday, the commissioners agreed to pay DLZ $39,000 to prepare plans and contract documents for the project.

The professional services agreement also calls for the consulting engineering firm to:

  • Adjust individual controls to allow each courtroom to better control its temperatures.
  • Prepare and supervise a pre-bid meeting with interested contractors.
  • Review all submitted bids.
  • Conduct post-work inspections.

Based on past experiences that include the construction of an ADA-compliant courthouse ramp, commissioner Rick Flohr said such inspections have proven to be in the county’s best interest.

“I hate that we had to hire a consultant to do this, but it’s pretty complicated,” commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said.

“Far more complicated than trying to do this to your house,” commissioners chairman Carl Lienhoop said in agreement.

The agreement will guarantee work is performed safely, provide courthouse employees the ability to control their environments, and ensure taxpayers get what they pay for, Kleinhenz said.

No decision on roof

The second significant project involves the replacement of a new roof on the Bartholomew County Governmental Office building at Third and Franklin streets.

Bids submitted by four different companies were opened Monday. The apparent low bidder was Foster Contracting LLC of Greenwood, which offered to do the job and provide a 20-year warranty for $112,000 and a 30-year warranty for $122,000.

The next lowest bid was nearly $43,000 higher than the Greenwood firm had submitted. Nevertheless, the commissioners decided to study the bids for at least another week before awarding the contract.

After the commissioners expressed disappointment that the last roof replacement held up for only 15 years, they have stressed the necessity of acquiring warranty options from bidding contractors.

None of the money appropriated Monday will come from new revenue that will be generated in a local income tax hike approved for 2018, assistant county administrator Jolinda Smiar said.

Instead, all money approved to date will be taken from already appropriated 2017 funds, Smiar said.

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