Hall County Looks at Plans to Renovate Courthouse without a Temporary Building

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- Two weeks after Hall County withdrew their offer to purchase a building to act as a temporary courthouse, the Board of Supervisors is trying to figure out what to do during renovations to the 110 year old building

With no temporary courthouse in Hall County it has been decided to renovate around court proceedings. But now the Hall County Board must decide how to do that.

"We haven't had much discussion about the process by which we were going to finance this and what we could do and what we couldn't do and where we'd take the money from," said Supervisor Stephen Schuppan during the Tuesday's Board meeting.

With that, the needed talks began, however not much was decided as there are six different plans to look at, none of which are similar.

"Three of the options involve using the Safety Center Building, the old jail if you will, and three of the options involve additions. Other than that there's not a whole lot of similarity in them. All of the additions are different," said Hall County Board of Supervisors Chair Bob McFarland.

The board instead planned for future meetings to determine a course of action.

McFarland said, "In two weeks we'll have the architects here to go over the options that we have and in four weeks we'll have our financing people here to discuss our financing options and let us know exactly what we can and can't do."

The board hopes to make a decision then, as they're up against the clock.

"That's the big issue is the time bomb, if you will, that we're sitting on over there," said McFarland. "We don't know when the next pipe is going to break. The plumbing with the H-VAC system is basically shot and we could have a disaster at any time."

The other group that needs to give input before a decision can be made is the judges that preside in the historic courthouse.

"I have asked the judges to let the Facilities Committee know who's going to stay in the historic building and who is going to go in the new addition, whether it's District in historic and County in the new addition or vice versa. That will give us some clarification as to what we need to regarding a potential addition to the courthouse," said McFarland.

How much involvement the judges would have in planning also came up, but only briefly.

McFarland said, "They have to sign off on whatever we decide to do and after they sign off the Nebraska Supreme Court has to approve it also. So if we don't get their approval, we're starting all over."

The board wants to be careful not to dig too deep into the Public Fund because of other projects they are working on.