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Muscatine County Courthouse (copy)

Renovations to the third floor courtroom of the Muscatine County Courthouse will close the room starting later this year. A plan is still in process to complete upgrades to the courtroom without disrupting proceedings for an extended period.

MUSCATINE — The third floor renovation planned for the the Muscatine County Courthouse will close the courtroom as soon as this year, but for how long has yet to be determined.

"Since we don’t know the exact duration we need to shut the courthouse for a certain amount of time, we’ll get everybody together for a large coordination meeting to figure out what their schedule is and when the start and stop times would be and from that point we’ll coordinate with the state to have access to the courtroom," Mike Nolan of Horizon Architecture said.

Nolan presented Monday before the county board of supervisors his recommendation for construction services as lead architect of the project. He said the project received seven bids. Wolfe Contracting of Muscatine was selected with a total cost at $578,000 for construction of the project.

The total courtroom renovation will be approximately $920,000 Nolan said, comprised of three separate projects. Construction will include removal of partitions and building of new partitions and upgrades to the HVAC system. Restoration of the plaster ceiling in the courtroom will be around $80,000 with $50,000 of it covering painting costs. Work around the rotunda will also be included, Nolan said. The final piece of the project is new audio-visual equipment which will total around $125,000. All three parts of the project are under separate contracts he said.

"Those three will come together to form the totality of the project, which is currently the opinion of probable cost we have is around $920,000 with the contingency built in there even though this was a little bit higher for the general contractor portion of the project we’re still well within the contingency so the project is still within the budget parameters we set out in the beginning," Nolan said.

The contracts are anticipated to be finalized within the next couple weeks, and a tentative start date on work is set for winter.

Other than coordinating schedules, Nolan said, "I think we’re in great shape. Everybody’s excited to get moving with their projects, so I think the goal is to hopefully start in December, but there again, I’m going to hold off until I get input from the contractor on their availability."

The committee communicating on the courtroom closing includes stakeholders such as County Attorney Alan Ostergren. Supervisor Nathan Mather requested Nolan also advise the county bar association to further develop plans for holding court during renovations.

The board approved the request, 4-0. Supervisor Jeff Sorensen recused himself from the vote as his company, Pearl City Wood Products, also submitted a bid for the project.

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