By Keith Gushard
Repairs to the cupola at the Crawford County Courthouse in Meadville as well as exterior masonry and roof repairs to the building at a cost of more than $700,000 are set to begin by the middle of next month.
Crawford County Board of Commissioners on Thursday unanimously approved contracts for the work — the first major work done at the courthouse since the building was expanded almost 60 years ago.
With Thursday’s contract awards, construction is expected to be underway by mid-July, according to Commissioner Chairman Francis Weiderspahn Jr. The work is to be completed by Sept. 30.
Commissioners also unanimously awarded the contract for exterior masonry restoration work and cupola work to Guzik Concrete and Masonry of Union City on a bid of $258,635. It was the only bid received for that contract.
Ramp Construction Co. Inc. of Canonsburg was awarded the contract for the roofing project on a bid $454,000. It was one of two bids received by the 2 p.m. June 4 deadline. McCreary Roofing Co. Inc. of Erie was the only other bidder at $1,080,000. A third roof bid from Angelo’s Roofing and Construction Inc. of Erie arrived at the commissioners’ office 10 minutes after the deadline, but the bid was disallowed and not opened.
The Crawford County Courthouse itself hasn’t had major renovations since the building was expanded in the mid-1950s.
The county had estimated the total of the two repair projects at more than $720,000 — $157,850 in exterior restoration and cupola work; $431,200 for a new rubberized roof; $27,500 in environmental/asbestos abatement; $58,853 for construction contingencies; and $47,240 in architectural/engineering fees.
The county will pay for the project out of proceeds from a previous $5 million county bond issue, according to commissioners.
According to county commissioners, the work is necessary because of the building’s age even if the county eventually opts to go forward with an estimated $25.3 million plan to move the county court system and related offices out of the building,
In January 2012, a citizens’ advisory committee recommended Crawford County split almost all of its courthouse functions among two sites. The present Crawford County Courthouse in downtown Meadville would be the administrative center while the former Talon Inc. Plant No. 5 on upper Arch Street would be a courts center.
Final action on whether to move forward with that building project is expected to be taken by county commissioners later this year.
Even if the Crawford County doesn’t move forward with any major structural changes, architect Dick Fox of Weber Murphy Fox has estimated the county would have to spend about $10 million to upgrade the present courthouse building — such as its roof, electrical, heating and other systems.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.