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County commissioners discuss building security

Photo by Rachelle Klemme Tony Stoll, principal architect of BHH Partners, presents one of the possible building plans to update the Wadena County Courthouse, during the county board meeting Tuesday.

Building security modifications for the Wadena County Courthouse were discussed during Tuesday's county commission meeting.

Tony Stoll, principal architect of BHH Partners of Perham, presented entrance addition and window plan options to commissioners and about 15 others.

The pros of the option of focus, Option C-1, are that the plan would provide security for the entire courthouse and create a larger, more efficient entry point.

The cons related to the high cost of the new addition and the fact that it would only provide one line of security.

Additionally, Stoll said it has been indicated at the state level that the current courthouse elevator is not up to code, and may need to be replaced.

The preliminary cost estimate for an entrance addition was $423,597 for both hard construction and soft construction costs, plus $53,000 in additional yearly staffing costs.

Commissioner Rodney Bounds said another option would involve moving the zoning department, law library and attorneys' offices to different locations.

"It's hard times out there," he said, adding that Wadena County taxpayers are stretched to the limit.

Judge Peter Irvine said he thought Bounds had a good idea, adding that money will most likely have to be spent on the elevator.

"This is about security for this whole courthouse," he said.

County Attorney Kyra Ladd said the room the commission was gathered in could be the new law library, and commissioners could meet in the auditorium.

Commissioner Bill Stearns said the larger Wadena city council chambers were another possible meeting location.

Irvine also suggested the current commissioners room become the small courtroom, which would be better than the current small courtroom location.

Commissioner Ralph Miller said the board should consult with Ryan Odden at the highway department on the issue of office space.

Stoll also presented tentative window plans, which included taller and more energy-efficient windows. The windows would be straight up and down with no lines of wall between top and bottom windows.

The estimated total project costs were $208,245.

The discussion was tabled, and Stoll said he would give more details at a later meeting.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for June 21 at 9 a.m., and a discussion of the building issue will be held June 26 at 9 a.m.