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Commissioners are seeking new office

November 19, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Franklin County Board of Commissioners Tuesday awarded more than $300,000 in contracts for a fourth courtroom in the courthouse, but the board still does not know where it will be holding its meetings next year.

The contract for converting the commissioners' office and former county controller's office to courtroom space went to GRC General Contractor Inc. of Zullinger, Pa., which provided the lowest bid, $163,719. The project will include a courtroom, a smaller hearing room, a holding area, judge's chambers, and space for a law clerk and clerical staff, according to Kelly Livermore, the county's assistant administrator.

The suite of rooms will be on the second floor of the courthouse annex on Lincoln Way East. Livermore said the contract calls for the work to be completed within 120 days of the beginning of construction, with the project expected to be completed by July 1.

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The new courtroom will be used by Judge Carol Van Horn, who now uses a small hearing room in the old courthouse next to the annex.

Other contracts include $78,000 to Preferred Sheet Metal of Enola, Pa., for heating and air conditioning; $10,379 to Carl E. Frantz Inc. of Biglerville, Pa., for plumbing; and $54,240 for electrical work to Lobar Inc. of Dillsburg, Pa. All the contracts went to the lowest bidders, Livermore said.

"We have to be out before construction begins," Livermore said.

Staff is looking at both county space and privately-owned properties as possible places to relocate the commissioners' office. The controller's office recently moved to the Administrative Annex on North Second Street.

"I'd rather not move, but that is out of the question at this stage," Commissioner Bob Thomas said. "We made a commitment some time ago that we would provide this space for Judge Van Horn."

The biggest challenge, according to Thomas, is finding adequate space for the commissioners, including the commissioners' individual offices, a meeting area and office space for staff.

The second floor of the county's administrative annex on North Second Street has been discussed as the possible new location for the commissioners' office, but no decision has been made, Livermore said.

"It could be temporary ... for two years or more, or less," Livermore said of where the commissioners' office ends up next year.

Money for the construction of the courtroom is coming from an existing $8 million bond issue, Livermore said.

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