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Thursday October 18, 2018

mc courthouse to be renovated and expanded

Thursday, November 16, 2017 15:36 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

The courthouse in Michigan City built in 1909 will be renovated and made twice as large.

The LaPorte County Commissioners also decided Wednesday night to cap the expense of the actual construction, not including furnishings and other soft costs, at $15 million.

A new courthouse was also considered but that would have cost at least twice as much.

''It' is way, way, way too expensive,'' said LaPorte County Commission president Rich Mrozinski.

Mrozinski said the existing courthouse being historic and still in very good shape structurally were also factors in the decision.

''If we can put a lot of improvements in there, it'll last another 100-years,'' he said.

Among the major reasons for the renovation is updating an old electrical system now believed a serious hazard and many areas on the inside not being handicapped accessible under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The addition doubling the size of the courthouse would alleviate cramped working conditions and allow county government offices in Michigan City to all be under one roof.

Improving security when inmates are escorted to court hearings was among the other reasons cited for the project.

LaPorte County attorney Doug Biege said the decision comes more than a year after a committee was formed to look into the matter and architects at American Structure Point from Indianapolis came up with drawings.

Biege said officials in Michigan City were also approached about helping to pay for a new facility for use by the county and city but they were not interested.

''We had a very good, pleasant, productive meeting. However, it seems that Michigan City's timeline is not necessarily the same that the county has since we have some urgency in repairing the electrical issues and some other issues at the Michigan City courthouse,'' said Biege.

Biege said the estimated cost of renovating and adding onto the courthouse is $17.8 million but commissioner Dr. Vidya Kora proposed the cap to reduce the potential for any cost overruns.

No timeframe was set for beginning construction but Mrozinski said he hopes the work begins sometime in 2018.
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