Human Services Director Vickie Clark and Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak talk about the new offices inside the historic Routt County Courthouse. The offices recently were finished, and meetings have been moved to the areas that previously were courtrooms.

Photo by John F. Russell

Human Services Director Vickie Clark and Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak talk about the new offices inside the historic Routt County Courthouse. The offices recently were finished, and meetings have been moved to the areas that previously were courtrooms.

Officials move into new office

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Routt County commissioners enjoyed a new view of Lincoln Avenue on Monday as they conducted business for the first time from their recently renovated hearing room.

The commissioners carried out their duties amid construction clutter and the smell of fresh paint outside the doors of their hearing room. Thursday and Friday were moving days, with the majority of the commissioners' offices packed up and moved from the Annex to the Courthouse during those two days.

"There's still a punch list of things to do," Commissioner Doug Monger said, but for the most part, the major construction is done.

The work was extensive and involved a "complete structural renovation" said Rob Davis, the job-site superintendent for contractor Holmquist-Lorenz Construction Co.

Projects include new roofs for the Courthouse and the Annex, electrical upgrades, heating and air conditioning replacement, fire alarm and sprinkler system upgrades, plumbing and exterior window and masonry work.

"This is a major historic renovation," Monger said while noting that the historic elements of the building were important to preserve for future generations.

Work began about a year ago and is on schedule to be completed in October, Davis said. He added that salvaging the historic elements of the 85-year-old building added a lot of time to the schedule.

The historic touches are evident throughout the building. Decorative antique light fixtures brighten the cream and baby blue walls. Many of the wooden doors and their frames are original and were restored to look new - a project Davis said "took a lot of love and time."

Windows were restored and are now more energy efficient, while the new boiler and air conditioning systems replaced aging ones that were costly to repair during the past few years, according to a memorandum from Tim Winter, the county's building and plant director.

"This will keep county offices downtown," Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said, which will be a benefit for the county and the community, she added.

When all is said and done, the offices of the commissioners, clerk and recorder, treasurer and assessor will be located in the historic Courthouse. This will allow the functions of recording, appraising and assessing property, motor vehicle registrations and paying taxes to take place in one location, which Stahoviak said will be more convenient by cutting down on the amount of time people might otherwise have to spend going from place to place.

The second floor of the Courthouse contains the commissioners' public hearing room and offices, along with the county attorney's office and additional conference rooms that can be reserved for meetings by the public.

The Annex building will house the Road and Bridge Department, CSU Extension offices, Planning Department, Regional Building Department and the Environmental Health Department.

Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush estimated the final price tag would come in around $4 million. Grants from the Energy Impact Fund and State Historic Fund total $1.25 million, with $250,000 of that earmarked for retrofitting the building's 101 windows.

Winter said he is waiting to find out if an additional $250,000 grant from the State Historic Fund is going to be awarded for exterior masonry repair.

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