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MUSCATINE — With the County Community Service Building's renovations, Michael Nolan, project architect for Horizon Architecture, said that a benchmark for success may not be what people notice, but what people do not.

"I think the biggest thing driving by, you probably don't even notice that something happened," Nolan said. "For this type of building — particularly since it is a 19th century building — we are doing historically sensitive treatments, but not going back with historic materials."

Nolan said construction will be completed at the building in two weeks. With 100 years of use and more to come, Nolan said it was important to walk the line of renovation and rehabilitation. 

"We wanted to do something that was not necessarily going to be a historic renovation necessarily but keep the historical character of the building," Nolan said. 

A major phase of the project was replacing the original windows that according Nolan had seen better times. 

"The historic windows, the old windows of the building had been painted and cocked and every other thing when it came to solving the draftiness problem," Nolan said. "Just a whole lot of deterioration."

Nolan said that modern fixtures and glass will curb the heat loss the occupants of the building suffered from.

In the next two weeks, contractors will finish up by installing a recessed walk-off mat under the front doorway, which once had decorative wood around the edges but has been replaced with a new swinging door.

Sherry Seright, the county's budget administrator, said she has been really pleased with the project's quick progress since beginning in August.

"We didn't have great weather to have windows out and they moved very quickly to get them filled back in so that we didn't have any issues," Seright said. "At one point, we had some cold days. But other than that, it was just fine."

It came in far enough under budget that they are able to address other needs. 

"The window project came in at half of what we had set aside," Seright said. "I think we have to pay for some window treatments, but we are still fine budget-wise. We had set aside $300,000 for windows and I think the contract was $158,000."

Scott Sauer, chairman of the board of supervisors, said he was pleased with the work Wolfe Construction Inc., the contractor, had done. 

"I've walked through the building a few times during construction and I talked to the employees there," Sauer said. "The information told to me by them is the crew that worked on that project were very hard-working and very professional and very efficient at what they did. They were all very pleased with the outcome of that. It really is incredibly nice."

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