|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - October 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
Courthouse cost tops $5.2 million
Trinity Standard -
GROVETON – With the approval of an addition $64,139 in changes, the price tag for the Trinity County Courthouse renovation topped the $5.2 million mark on Monday, Oct. 11. During the monthly meeting of the Trinity County Commissioners Court, architect Michael Gaertner presented eight changes to the original renovation plan for the 96-year-old courthouse. The changes approved Monday will mean the date for “substantial completion” of the work will be pushed back to Feb. 16, 2011. While there will still be some work continuing on the renovation, the substantial completion date is the point at which the county can begin moving offices back into the building. During Monday’s meeting, Gaertner assured commissioners that while the price tag has climbed from the original $4.7 million bid, the project was still “in the black.” He noted that the pre-bid budget for the project was $6.4 million, with the bulk of that amount -- $5 million – coming from a Texas Historical Commission (THC) Courthouse Preservation Grant. The remaining funds came from $1.6 million borrowed by the county to be repaid over 15 years. He noted that when the bid came in at $4.7 million, it was much lower than anyone had expected. And as a result, the THC reduced the grant so that funds not needed for the Trinity County project could be used to fund other grants. The architect noted that as the changes to the contract have been approved in recent months – many at the request of THC – the state has added the money it had removed back into the grant total. “Right now, we are close to getting back to the original $5 million (grant) amount,” Gaertner told commissioners on Monday. While additional changes requiring more money are still on the horizon, the architect said the county would have money left over when the courthouse was completed. During earlier meetings, commissioners and County Judge Mark Evans have indicated they wanted to use a portion of the money left over from construction for landscaping at the courthouse. While some money was set aside in the original construction bid for that purpose, commissioners have indicated they would like to do more to improve the overall appearance of the courthouse grounds. Any of the $1.6 million left over after than will, by law, be applied back toward paying of the courthouse loan. Among the changes approved Monday was $23,755 to cover the cost of purchasing three vault doors to replace those originally in the courthouse. One of those doors located in the old county clerk’s office, was removed and lost many years ago. An additional $13,000 was approved to for brick brackets to help reinforce the roof parapets, $9,929 for additional telephone and security conduits linking the courthouse to the jail and Rock Building, $5,750 to clean the columns located at the south side main entrance, $5,000 to install a grease trap interceptor, $3,170 to install a sump pump, $2,400 to refurbish decorative lions heads located in the roof cornice and $1,135 for replacement plaster roof moldings in two rooms. Gaertner said the grease trap and sump pump are designed to take care of hydraulic fluid or water leaks that may occur in the courthouse’s new elevator shaft. He noted that the four to six lions heads found in the metal cornice around the room were originally covered with gold leaf. “If the price of replicating that gold leaf gets out of hand, well, they are 65-feet in the air and Krylon makes a gold spray that will look just as good,” he said. During his presentation, the architect said work at the courthouse is moving forward at a fairly past pace. He noted the roof, while still needing an additional top layer, is “dried in” and that work on refurbishing interior woodwork is underway.