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Thursday, May 5, 2016

County explores more courthouse railing options

Monday, February 21, 2011

GREENCASTLE -- As the county continues to look for options to raise the level of the railings on the third and fourth floor of the courthouse, the commissioners heard two new options Monday evening.

Eric Ratts of DLZ presented the commissioners with three options, one of which he presented at a previous meeting.

The first option is for the county to install a 48-inch rail made of construction-grade glass on the walkway side of the existing rail. This would provide more protection from a fall than the current railing, which averages 31.5 inches.

The second plan is to install the glass panels on top of the current railing. It would involve the installation of a boot to support the glass at the top of the current rails, with the glass extending vertically to 48 inches.

The third option is totally different, and the most involved of the possible plans. The existing rail would be taken out in order for a wooden piece to be installed between the floor and the rail. The rail would be reinstalled with its new height reaching 48 inches.

All three plans would put the rail height well over the current standard of 42 inches.

"It's a grandfather clause that you don't have to do anything, but if we were building today, it would have to be at least 42 inches," Ratts said.

The first plan would cost approximately $85,000, while the second would be between $40,000 and $50,000. The third option, which the commissioners agreed would be most aesthetically pleasing, has no cost estimate currently, but would be the most expensive of the three.

"The only problem I have with this cheaper option is this is permanent," commissioner Nancy Fogle said. "If it's to be permanent, what's the difference of $30,000 or $40,000?"

Commissioner president Gene Beck agreed, saying he was glad when the courthouse dome was replaced that the county did not go the cheap route.

"We've spent a world of money on the courthouse, but it's one of the nicer courthouses around," Beck said.

The commissioners agreed to table the issue, while asking Ratts to return with more specific information about the third option.

The county highway department is also exploring a construction project. The department has outgrown its current salt storage facility, so co-supervisor Clint Maddox presented two options.

The first is a steel frame building with a tarpaulin roof. The frame would be guaranteed for 30 years, while the roof would be guaranteed for 15 years.

The other is an all-metal kit building with a 30-year guarantee.

While the all-metal building is slightly more expensive, both plans run in the neighborhood of $34,000 to $35,000. They also have roughly the same square footage.

"Given the durability of the materials, I think the metal building is the better option," Maddox said.

The commissioners tabled the issue until they can get a permit from the city, but did not see an issue with the approximately $630 difference in the building prices, considering the difference in quality.

The building will not require additional appropriations, as it will come from a grant the department has already obtained.

The existing salt building will be kept, but the new structure will give the department a chance to make much-needed repairs. Once both buildings are functioning, the department's salt will be segregated from its sand and calcium sand.

The commissioners also approved the filling of three sheriff's department positions -- a full-time jailer, a part-time jailer and a part-time process server. The process server position is not full-time, as reported after last week's county council meeting.

None of these hirings create new positions; they simply fill vacancies in positions whose salaries are already budgeted.

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A very informative and productive meeting last night! Thank you,Commissioners....

-- Posted by kubotafan on Tue, Feb 22, 2011, at 6:03 AM

If the salt comes into direct contact with the metal frame it will eat through it in no time. Hope there is a durable barrier to prevent that from occurring.

-- Posted by local-yokel on Tue, Feb 22, 2011, at 10:09 AM

Just out of curiosity, how many people have jumped or fallen over the courthouse railing since the courthouse was built?

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Tue, Feb 22, 2011, at 10:47 AM

I for one want to thank the Putnam County Commissioners for being proactive on the matter of installing a higher railing on the third and fourth floors of the Putnam County courthouse.

-- Posted by Lookout on Tue, Feb 22, 2011, at 11:43 AM

I guess with the current state of the county government, there could be an increase in that "fallen/jumped" number in the future!

-- Posted by almostfootballfree on Tue, Feb 22, 2011, at 12:02 PM

Yes, almostfootballfree, I agree and you could probably add "pushed / thrown" to those numbers, as well.

-- Posted by westforty on Tue, Feb 22, 2011, at 1:16 PM

There are many young children that come to the 4th floor. Many times their parents are distracted and are not paying close enough attention to their children. The rails are an attraction to them, they climb on them wanting to look down. It is definitely an accident waiting to happen. I'm glad they want to do something with it before something does happen. I know I don't want to be a witness to any of that!

-- Posted by indianaresident on Wed, Feb 23, 2011, at 8:55 AM

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