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Courthouse to be remodeled, more accessible

 


Bids are being accepted for upgrades to be made to Wrangell’s courthouse.

The Borough had allotted funds, not to exceed $350,000, for the project in its 2015 fiscal year budget. Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch said this will include design and construction costs and that once completed the courtroom facilities will be up to modern standards.

“There’s just a fair number of things they want changed,” Jabusch explained.

Particulars for the project will include interior renovations to the courtroom, jury room and jury bathroom. The juror box is currently not considered accessible under Americans With Disabilities Act standards, and the restroom on site needs to be upgraded for similar reasons.

The work will address safety concerns as well, limiting how the judges chambers and magistrates office can be accessed by the public. The projects are to consist of casework, wall paneling, doors, carpeting, plumbing, fixtures and electrical, with possible upholstery work.

Jabusch said the Borough will go ahead with bidding out and contracting the renovation, and it will be repaid by the state over a 15-to-20-year period.

The state currently leases the office from the city for $70,000 a year. Repayments for the project would be added to that, with around five-percent interest.

“I think it’s a good thing for both of us,” Jabusch said. With funding for such projects at the state level jeopardized by budget cuts, this arrangement will allow the city to improve facilities while also earning interest on its available funds.

The project is being advertised locally and around Southeast, in Juneau, and in the Alaska Journal of Commerce. Some items and materials involved in the project will have to be pre-ordered and transported, Jabusch explained, but work is expected to be completed by the New Year.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the work would be done December or January,” he said.

Sealed bids will be publicly opened and read at 10 a.m. on Oct. 30, at City Hall.

 

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