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County Begins Discussions Regarding Emergency Courthouse Repairs
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 • Posted February 22, 2012

During a marathon four and a half hour meeting on February 13, the Mason County Commissioners' Court began the careful process of determining exactly what repairs would be available using the proceeds of the recent Texas Historical Commission Courthouse Restoration Grant. Mason County received $208,994 from the THC in the form of an emergency grant to address electrical problems and the courthouse roof.The County's architect, Kim Williams, was in attendance, as were representatives from the THC, to discuss the particulars of what exact repairs would be required to satisfy the grant requirements. The THC pointed out that language in the grant application referenced the roof repairs, the electrical problems, AND replacement of the courthouse dome. Mr. Williams responded that the cost of completely renovating the clocktower could add a tremendous of amount of expense to the project, likely far in excess of what the County would be able to match.A lengthy discussion between the architect, the THC and the Court followed as the costs of each of elements of the project were reviewed. The THC representative pointed out that the grant application, as submitted by the County, DID include the dome repairs, for the amount requested by the County. THC acknowledged that there was probably room for discussion on the issue since the County had been funded at a lower level than they had originally requested. Estimates of construction costs prior to submission had been between $550,000 and $620,000.Mr. Williams explained the process moving forward to begin work on the identified projects. First, the County needed to approve a construction manager using the "Construction Manager At Risk" model. Second, begin advertising for a contractor, obtain references and tighten up the cost projections. And, third, execute a continuing agreement with the architect to proceed with the project. The County voted to approve all three steps.The County and the architect agreed that it is possible work could begin this spring on the roof and electrical repairs. The extent of repairs to the clock tower/dome will be determined as discussions proceed with the Texas Historical Commission.In other business, librarian Patti Grote reported that upgrades to the Stribling Room are underway to make it more technologically current. The goal is to be able to provide a place in Mason for businesses and individuals to have electronic training or meetings. Patti also detailed a plan to offer free yoga classes two days a week at the library. She is a certified instructor, and will be leading the classes.The Court also discussed the replacement of the hangars that were damaged at the airport last fall by a windstorm. Commissioner Stephen Mutschink and Don Daniel presented three possible plans to the Court and those plans were debated. The Court allowed Mutschink and Daniel to continue looking at options, begin preparation and to begin seeking bids.The next meeting of the Court will be on February 27 at 9:00 a.m.

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