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Courthouse expansion issue may go before voters in November

Boone County Commissioners will decide Aug. 11 whether to put the question of expanding the county courthouse before voters in November.

When the plans were last revised in May, total square footage of the addition was reduced from 7,400 to 4,800 square feet, and the total cost estimate was reduced to $2.1 million. Renovation work in the existing courthouse accounts for about $800,000 in the original estimate.

Board members met with the architect and construction engineer last Wednesday to talk about further changes in the proposed project.

Commissioner Chairman Hank Thieman said the focus of that meeting was on renovation work that will be needed in the existing courthouse. Some of the changes suggested in the present building include new windows, ceilings and lighting. Several walls would be relocated, and a fire sprinkler system would also be required in the existing courthouse.

The architect was asked to return the revised designs and cost estimates soon.

“We need to decide that day (Aug. 11) if we are going to put this issue on the ballot,” said commissioner Tom Schuele. Once that question is decided, the ballot language can be determined and a public hearing will be held.

County Clerk Kathy Thorberg noted that all issues to be included on the November ballot must be finalized by Sept. 2, 2008.