County Hires Architect For Repair Of Buildings

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An architect was hired Tuesday by the Athens County Commissioners to develop specifications for repairs to the county-owned buildings in downtown Athens.

RVC Architects Inc. of Athens was hired for $25,250 to develop the specs, and to line up potential contractors and oversee construction. The buildings involved are the Courthouse, Cline Building (Courthouse annex) and the sheriff's office.

John Valentour of RVC Architects met with the commissioners Tuesday to discuss his assessment of the needed work, which included preliminary cost estimates totaling $179,390.

Proposed Courthouse work includes masonry repairs to the six chimneys and main entry steps, attic insulation, eliminating pigeon access to the tower and repair of the roof over the walkway connecting the Courthouse to the Cline Building.

Also included in the document Valentour provided to the commissioners is a "very general" estimate of $30,000 for repair of the Lady Justice statue on top of the Courthouse. The gold-colored finish on the statue is deteriorating and there are structural issues. Valentour told the commissioners he is still investigating how repairs should be made.

The sheriff's office work involves roof repairs, as well as repairs to flashing and adding roof ventilation.

Cline Building work would include window replacement, masonry work, restoration of the decorative transom glass on the front of the building and repair of the wooden "storefront" on the ground floor of building.

Overall, the masonry work is expected to be the most costly, with Valentour's preliminary estimates totaling $63,500 for the Courthouse and Cline Building.

Commission President Lenny Eliason said it's hoped all the work can be completed this year, although the commissioners will provide Valentour a prioritized list indicating which specifications should be done first.

Earlier this year, the commissioners approved borrowing $1.3 million for capital improvements, including those discussed Tuesday. The money will be borrowed from county coffers, with the county paying 1.82 percent interest to itself.