Budget for justice building is tight, council learns


LAGRANGE – An update on the new LaGrange County Justice Building dominated this morning’s LaGrange County Council agenda.

County Engineer Sarah Farlow and County Surveyor Rex Pranger updated council on the project, with Pranger asking the question nobody wanted to hear – could they seek more funding?

Pranger said the question is prompted by unanticipated costs.

"I think we are in reasonable shape. The contractor is real concerned about the money in this thing. We are really tight and he wants to give you the best product, and we want to get the best product out of this too. He's real concerned that $3.65 million is going to give us what we want."

Pranger said things like landscaping, paving a parking lot, fencing and such were not included in the building plans. Also security for the building will far exceed the $10,000 originally budgeted.

He says the prosecutor's and probation departments made requests that also add to the cost.

"Interior walls, they requested they be as soundproof as possible. To go to the next step up in sound proofing the interior walls between all these rows of offices : $17,000. Do we give them a 2 by 4 wall or do we give them a 2 by 6 wall? Those are the kinds of things that they request that were really never factored into the design of the building when it was just conceptual."

The commissioners will be asked to decide next Monday whether to continue with the project and how to address those costs.

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