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Changes considered for county building

December 13, 2011

PLYMOUTH — Updated wiring for the elevators and new automatic doors may be in store for the Marshall County Building, if the funds needed are approved.
During the county council meeting Monday, Rich Ulrich, maintenance director, brought up the need for the two elevators in the county building to be updated.
It was a fitting time to discuss the problem, since one of the elevators was again out of commission — blocked off by caution tape and a trash can.
“As we sit here, that elevator is out of service for the 28th time in the last 10 weeks,” said Ulrich.
Ulrich continued, stating that working elevators are “a core function” of the building.
He presented a proposal from Otis Elevators, the company that maintains the elevator in the Marshall County Historical Museum. Ulrich explained that Otis would update the elevators in the county building for $144,000. The company also offered to maintain all of the five county-owned elevators for a lower monthly rate than what the current elevator company is charging for the two in the county building. In a previous county commissioners meeting, county attorney Jim Clevenger had stated that he would be willing to draft a contract termination letter to the current elevator company employed by the county based on their poor performance.
Council members commented on the need to have working elevators in order to keep the county building handicap-accessible. County commissioner Jack Roose, who was present, commented that since the restrooms in the building are on the second floor, the elevators get a lot of traffic from mothers with young children coming in to the health department.
Ulrich said that he was not asking for action from the council that day, noting that the money for the fix would likely come from next year’s budget. He simply asked council members to consider the proposal from Otis, adding that he would also visit the commissioners on the subject.
“I appreciate that you’ve always stepped to the plate when (the maintenance department) has basic needs,” said Ulrich. “This is a basic need.”
Roose also presented a quote from Michiana Contracting to replace the exterior windows and main entrance doors in the county building. He brought up the possibility of installing automatic doors at one or both of the building’s entrances. Since the work on the doors and windows needed to be done anyway, Roose said it might be a good idea to update the doors by making them automatic.
Council member Ralph Booker agreed, saying “If you’re going to do it, why not do it right?”
Council member Rex Gilliland also commented, “We don’t think much about it…(but) when you’re trying to get wheelchairs and walkers in (the building), those buttons are a godsend.”
The cost to replace the windows and doors will be about $170,000.
The funds to complete that project as well as update the elevator system would come from the county’s general fund. The general fund currently has a balance of $3.9 million.

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