Renovations to the Albany County Courthouse’s north entrance will begin this spring and are expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
When finished, the renovation will change how the public enters the building.
After construction is complete, all other doors will be locked to the public. People entering the building will need to come through the north entrance and pass through a security check.
With an initial cost estimate of $1.4 million, the renovation is aimed to address three areas of concern: court security, structural deficits on the building’s north side, and an elevator ramp that county engineer Bill Gorman said is only “marginally compliant” with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Under the designs for the new entrance, all members of the public will enter the building without ascending a staircase. Once inside, those with mobility issues can use an elevator to reach the building’s second floor. Anyone else can ascend a staircase.
Once on the second floor, the public will likely go through a security screening before being able to access county offices.
Gorman said he’s currently expecting construction to begin mid-March. The starting date might be adjusted once he meets next week with the architecture firm, Malone Belton Abel P.C.
County commissioners plan to commission new artwork for the new entrance.
Gorman is awaiting commissioners’ suggestion of certain individuals who will serve on an art selection committee. He’s expecting to put out a request for proposals for new commissioned art at a budget of $150,000.
Commissioner Heber Richardson said in December he’d like an even larger art budget, but acknowledged the county’s finances might not allow for that.
“I don’t think it’s enough, but I don’t know where we’d find it,” he said.
Meg Thompson Stanton, coordinator of the Laramie Public Art Coalition, praised the county in December for taking the initiative to commission new artwork.
“I have to convince a lot of people of the value of art, so that fact that you’re already on board is great,” she told commissioners. “Your citizens appreciate that. It’s not just the artists.”