2020 Year in Review

Logan County year in review starts with $11 million Logan County Courthouse restoration

Send a link to a friend  Share

[January 09, 2021]   The Logan County Courthouse was one of the noteworthy news stories of 2020 with the referendum finally passing and courthouse restoration plans progressing.

Two previous referendums that would have covered renovations at both the courthouse and Safety Complex had failed in recent years. This time the referendum was changed to a public facilities tax referendum that would only cover courthouse restorations.

The question on the ballot voters were asked to consider was: To pay for public facilities purposes for courthouse improvements, shall the county of Logan, Illinois be authorized to impose an increase on local sales tax of .5 percent? This tax would be .50 on every 100 dollars on non-food items.

To educate voters about the referendum and need for courthouse restoration, several meetings were held around the county in February and March. These meetings allowed people to hear more about the referendum and need for courthouse restoration and gave people a chance to ask questions. Many people had questions about the costs of the restoration, the timeline and what would happen if the referendum did not pass.

March 5, 2020 Public addressed on proposed sales tax and use for the Logan Courthouse

As a way of showing the public the need for restoration, both a short and long video were produced and made available for viewing on the county website. A three-minute video gave brief information about the courthouse. A longer video released in February provided more of a historical view of the courthouse and footage of various areas in need of restoration. This video was shown at the town hall meetings.

In the video, Restoration Specialist Bill Walter discussed many issues he discovered as he assessed what needs to be done to restore the courthouse. These include a leaky dome, roof internal drain issues, ceiling tiles falling in, energy loss from leaky windows, boiler leaks, tiles cracked due to excessive fluctuations in humidity, an old electrical system and corroded panel boxes.

January 28, 2020 - Videos to show why half-cent sales tax is needed for Logan County Courthouse restoration

February 22, 2020 - Second video shows courthouse damages and need for referendum support

A press conference held about a week before the March primaries provided additional information. In a question-and-answer session some asked about other possible funding sources to help offset the total restoration costs. These sources include bonds, grants and State of Illinois Capital Bill. Senator Bill Brady and Representative Tim Butler said funding from the Capital Bill was contingent on the referendum passing.

March 16, 2020 - Dollars and sense of restoring the historic Logan County Courthouse

In the March 17 primary election, the referendum passed by a 65 percent margin with 3,443 voting yes and 1,998 voting no. Once the referendum passed, the board authorized Bill Walter to begin compiling bid specifications and documents. The board also had to approve an ordinance for a special county retailers occupation tax to begin July 1.

Some of the funding for the project will be coming from bonds. A special meeting was held March 25 with David Pistorius of First Midstate speaking to the board members about bond options. As discussed at the special meeting, the notice of intent to issue bonds would be limited to $750,000 debt service for potentially $11 M in bonds.

April 17, 2020 - Logan County Board takes first step in acquiring courthouse restoration funds

After considering the options, the board chose to go out for general obligation bonds. These were split into two different bond series with different maturity rates--a taxable General Obligation Bond and a General Obligation Bond. In August, the county received $11 million in bond proceeds for the courthouse renovation project.

July 26, 2020 - Board approves $11 million bond issuance for Logan County Courthouse restoration

Renovation plans began to take shape over the summer, Walter began to assemble the scope of work and the basis for design as far as HVAC, computer control system, security and related items.

A flow chart Walter handed out at the July Building and Grounds Committee meeting showed the expected organizational structure for the restoration project. The chart explains who will be responsible for what areas and how the contact will happen between the committees and various individuals.

The Logan County Board is at the top of the structure. They are followed by the Building and Grounds Committee, which in turn will work hand in hand with the Technical Committee. Building and Grounds Committee Chairman David Blankenship is the contact point who keeps in close contact with Bill Walter, who is acting as Project Manager/Design Professional. Walter will also be working closely with the Technical Committee chaired by Blankenship and the Construction Transition Committee.

At the next level is the Performance Contractor, who will deal with energy related items and Construction Management, who will deal with the construction related items.

July 13, 2020 - Logan County Courthouse renovation plans take shape

The next step was choosing who would do construction management. At the July voting meeting, the board approved Blankenship’s motion to appoint CTS as Construction Management for the Courthouse Restoration Project. Construction Management will include site improvements, building construction, external building restoration, interior renovations, and plumbing and electrical work.

[to top of second column]

A letter of intent from the board to CTS gave them the authority to proceed with construction aspects of the project. Restoration Specialist Bill Walter and CTS then formulated a construction plan along with Blankenship and the technical committee.

A special meeting was held in October and the board amended the MRTS Contract. Blankenship had Bill Walter of MRTS clarify the responsibilities of the Construction Technical Committee and the Transition Committee. Walter wanted to make sure there is not any overlap in these committees or supposition of one committee having authority over the other. The board then adopted the Logan County Courthouse Restoration Project responsibility chart for the Tech Committee and the Transition Committee.

Over these past few months, MRTS and CTS compiled a scope of work list. When the Construction Technical Committee met in November, they brought together MRTS and CTS’s work and made a list of budget numbers for each category in general terms.

Walter, Blankenship, and a few members of the Construction Technical Committee then went through the ‘scope of work’ list to determine what would be considered needed priorities. Bid specs are currently in process. Walter has said the specs to restore the dome are phase one of the project.

Logan County Courthouse Construction Technical Committee actively moving project forward

Thursday, October 22 - Logan County Board refines courthouse restoration procedures and financial processes

Though the dome is the top priority, Walter has said other areas also need to be addressed. At a special meeting in April, the board was told both the elevator and boiler needed repairs to fix some major problems. A water leak was discovered in the boiler in October and a company came in to rebuild it. The repairs were needed until the boiler can be restored. In later phases of the restoration, the electrical system, security system, windows and façade of the building will also be updated.

November 24, 2020 - Logan County Courthouse restoration specs planning underway and boilers restored

In November, the American Scaffolding Incorporated put up scaffolding for the stair tower and material hoist on east side of the courthouse. Scaffolding over the front entrance of courthouse will help catch debris from the construction.

Picture page on November 13

A crane brought in the early part of December lifted tubular steel, plywood and foam board to the roof in preparation for work on the dome. The dome is currently being surrounded with scaffolding that would provide support for the encapsulation material. Encapsulating the dome will allow work during the winter months.

Walter has said the restoration may take at least 22 months, so there will be many more updates as the work progresses.

[Angela Reiners]

< Recent features

Back to top