Ottawa County commissioners passed a resolution on Monday that they believe will help contractors and architects to maintain continuity as new courthouse construction continues.
The three-member panel unanimously agreed that all variances from interior standards already established in current design plans must be brought before the county commission who, if agreeable to the changes, will take the changes to the architect and ultimately the contractor.
Commissioners took formal action on the matter Monday after learning of “extensive alterations” planned by District Judge Robert Haney for the district courtroom.
“We can't allow turning this thing loose,” said commission chairman Russell Earls. “We have to keep Crossland Construction informed.”
County officials said early in the planning phase that architects would be seeking continuity in design as plans developed for the new courthouse.
Haney, according to county officials, has plans for an ornate courtroom with features that have not been included in current designs held by the architect or contractor.
Earls said Monday that it is important that a process be put into place to address design changes so that communication between county officials, architects and contractors is clear.
Courtroom interiors will be paid for with assistance from the court fund, prompting Haney to take liberties in mandating the interior design of the courtroom and placing orders for furnishings.
County officials are concerned with continuity in the new courthouse and fairness to other elected officials who are held to standards for wall color, wood finish and furnishings within their offices.
“It is our hope that this building will be here for 100 years,” Earls said. “We don't need to be making it our own … it is for everybody.”
Haney was in Delaware County court Monday and could not meet with county officials at their regularly scheduled meeting as was planned.