Courthouse renovations to begin

The work should begin in a few weeks.
MERCER -- Commissioners hired a construction company for the first phase of exterior renovations of the county courthouse, a project that will eventually encompass complete restoration of the 100-year old structure. Commissioner Gene Brenneman said the work is intended to make it last for another 100 years.
Contractor: Wallace Builders of Pulaski was chosen for the $233,390 job, pending review of the contract by the solicitor.
The renovations in this phase will include repair work on the cupola, work on the southeast and northwest porticos and some window replacements.
Commissioner Brian Shipley said renovations will "start at the top and work their way down." He anticipates that the work will begin early next month and be done by the end of the year. Brenneman said eventually interior mechanical, electrical, plumbing and heating systems will be renovated and air conditioning added to the building.
Historical look: Commissioner Olivia Lazor emphasized that the building's historical nature will be preserved as much as possible during the renovation. "We are not talking about gutting the place," she said.
Lazor pointed to the commissioners' assembly room as an example of renovation that disregarded the historical character of the structure. The 1970s work, which covered original walls with dark paneling, "does the building an injustice," she said. The project is being funded by a recent bond issue.
Small buses: In other business, commissioners agreed to buy three 12-passenger wheelchair-accessible small transit buses for Mercer County Community Transit from Brightbill Body Works, Lebanon, Pa., for $156,285.
Although Brightbill's was not the low bid, the only other bidder, Shepard Bros. of Canandaigua, N.Y., submitted its $154,344 bid after the 4 p.m. May 9 deadline. Commissioners agreed they could not accept the late bid.
Commissioners accepted the high bid of Atty. Ted Isoldi for $28,000 for the sale of a county building on Gooseberry Alley, Mercer. The only other bidder, a group of Mercer business owners, offered $25,101.

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