County investing additional funds for elevator smoke alarms

While Bartholomew County government has invested over half-a-million dollars in elevator work this year, a new state regulation will make those investments more costly.

Early in the year, elected county officials approved $86,549 to replace a 25-year-old elevator at the E911 Emergency Operations Center, 131 S. Cherry St. Bartholomew County Maintenance Director Rick Trimpe said work on that project is currently underway.

At the Bartholomew County Jail, the cost of repairing one elevator and upgrading another was $257,880.

The third elevator project required a $202,483 investment in the two elevators inside the Bartholomew County Governmental Office Building, 440 Third St.

In total, county taxpayers have made a $546,912 investment at three buildings this year.

While it had been permissible to only have a smoke detector in an elevator shaft, state regulators now require them to be installed inside the elevator car itself, Trimpe said.

Approval has been give to the Bartholomew County commissioners to hire Koorsen Fire and Security of Columbus to install these smoke detectors at the jail for $92,742. The smoke detectors are part of an planned upgrade, Trimpe said.

In contrast, it will cost $7,142 for the installation of smoke detectors at the E911 center, he added.

The objective is to make the smoke detectors and elevators part of a non-proprietary system, Trimpe said. It’s a term used to describe a system that can integrate with various equipment manufacturers and software platforms.

“We cannot touch the system that is currently in place because it is a proprietary system,” Trimpe said. That means the current systems integrate exclusively with equipment and software produced by the company that manufactured the system.

With the conversion to non-proprietary systems, Koorsen will be able to do all future elevator and smoke alarm inspections without having to call in a third party, Trimpe said.

Little, if any, public opposition is expected because both the new elevator systems and smoke alarms will be financed with federal dollars obtained through the American Rescue Plan.

No new smoke detectors are needed at the county governmental office building because they already have a non-proprietary system installed, Trimpe said.