MT. VERNON — Members of the Courthouse Renovation Committee updated the Public Safety Committee on two of the six town hall meetings scheduled.
Chairman Randy Edwards said the meetings at Dodds and Waltonville grade schools drew a good response, but added, “It’s hard to inform the public about what we need when someone is there grandstanding.” Edwards did not identify the offending party.
Committee member Jim Malone said the committee is taking the suggestions to heart.
“We’re researching their ideas and checking them out,” he said, noting one suggestion of moving into to one of the two Mt. Vernon High School buildings could not happen before 2017 or later. One board member said he had heard high school officials wanted $1.5 million for the two buildings, but wondered what additional renovation costs would be associated with such a move.
“How much time do we have with our current boiler?” asked Chairman Robert White, which drew a response from M360 representative Jim Engeman.
“I think you are on borrowed time. It will fail when you need it most,” he said. Engeman was prepared to do another full blown presentation on the courthouse status and what is needed for rehabilitation, however, White said it was not necessary since the board member who requested the presentation — Jeremy Hall — was not in attendance.
Board members tossed around renovation versus new construction — noting Union County recently built a new courthouse for $11 million, and doubled its space, but board members said demolition costs would be exorbitant and it would create confusion in conducting day-to-day business in a temporary facility.
“This building is not insulated, and that’s a concern,” said Jim Laird. When asked by White if that is true, Engeman replied, “You’ve got a lot of mass.”
White said one idea presented is to share a municipal building with the city, although he said he doesn’t think the city is interested in such a proposal.