Music House studied, courthouse next

    Dave Sholl of Schenkel and Schultz Architects presented the Adams County Commissioners with a detailed presentation Monday regarding the feasibility and cost of renovating the old Music House building into a structure that would essentially house all of the Adams County court offices.
    Sholl gave a power-point presentation demonstrating how the building could be transitioned into an all-purpose county facility, housing both superior and circuit courts, probation, Community Corrections, and the clerk's office.
    Sholl stated that the building is three stories high and has a workable  basement, with approximately 24,000 square feet of useable space.
    In presenting his first plan, Plan A, to the commissioners Sholl provided floor plans that would put Community Corrections on the first floor, the probation department, superior court, and the clerk's office on the second floor, while the circuit court would be located on the third floor.
    In Plan B, Sholl showed that the basement would be used for file storage, the first floor would hold probation and superior and circuit clerk's office, while the second and third floors would hold either superior or circuit Court, depending on how the county wishes to design the structure.
    Sholl reminded the commissioners that in a previous examination done by the company, the cost of a building new facility from the ground up was approximately $4.4 million, and does not include purchasing property for such a development.
    Sholl reported the estimated cost of renovating the Music House as being between $3.7 and $4.1 million. This cost also does not reflect purchasing the building, or the warehouse building located behind it that would be demolished and built into a parking area.
    Sholl said although he did not do a complete structural analysis of the building, it appears to be sound.
    Ian Gilbert of Community Corrections said that under Plan B, Community Corrections would still need to be relocated due to deterioration of the building in which it is located, as well as the fact that it is not handicapped accessible.
    County council member Stan Stoppenhagen, who attended the meeting, asked commissioners if there was a plan to come to some sort of decision regarding which way the commissioners would ultimately decide to go.
    Adams County Attorney Mark Burry recommended all three commissioners be involved, as well as both judges and some members of Decatur City Council, in deciding which alternative will be best for Adams County.
    Superior Judge Patrick R. Miller asked if a study had been done on adding an edition onto the current courthouse. Miller noted that the county already owns the land, there is parking, and if superior court were moved to the current courthouse, the building which now houses superior court could be demolished for even more parking.
    Burry suggested to commissioners that they hire Sholl to do an inspection and cost estimate on this possibility to see if the existing courthouse could meet the needs of the county if additional space were added.
    Burry also suggested it may be a good idea for the county officials to visit Randolph County and Wabash County to see the work that has been done in expanding their courthouses.