Schuyler Courthouse (copy)

Cracks on the Colfax County Courthouse in Schuyler show the need for exterior renovations on the building.

Lee Enterprises file photo

Colfax County commissioners OK’d a bid letting for late this month in hopes that they can whittle down some of the expenses associated with renovating the exterior of the historic courthouse in Schuyler.

The three-member board set Nov. 28 as the date for a second alternate bid letting for concrete improvements that will make the nearly century-old building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990.

In September, the board unanimously agreed to accept a $962,564 bid from Bierman Contracting Inc. of Columbus for the renovation project, but rejected the company’s $73,000 alternate bid to make the exterior landings and sidewalk ADA-compliant.

The commissioners, who hope to attract more bidders for the concrete work this month, approved Bierman’s alternate bids for precast sills ($8,000) and tempered glass ($700) for the windows.

An initial estimate from Omaha-based Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture put the project's overall price tag at about $820,000, based on 2016 dollars.

The project was originally planned in two phases — the first restoring the north and east facades on the courthouse and installing and repointing terra cotta this year followed by up to four months of work on the south and west facades in 2018.

Now, all four sides of the courthouse restoration work will be done next year, beginning in the spring and extending about six months into the fall.

The board’s primary reason for the shift from a two-phase to a one-phase project is that it will take about six months to produce the terra cotta this winter.

The renovation work is needed because moisture has penetrated the downtown courthouse's exterior in spots, separating the bricks from the walls and cracking and wearing away the glaze on the clay-based terra cotta embellishments.



Jim Osborn is a news reporter at The Columbus Telegram.

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