SUNBURY — Despite the pesky construction at the Northumberland County Courthouse, commissioners say it will be worth it in the end as the $4.3 million renovation project is on track and expected to be completed by summer.
The project is causing parking issues, loud noises during court proceedings and just extra activity in and around the courthouse, but Commissioner Chairman Sam Schiccatano said it’s all part of moving forward.
“We are on track despite the weather and some small changes,” he said. “We believe at the end of the day, people will really like the improvements.”
One of those changes is the county discovered it must replace the rubber roofing near the bell tower, Schiccatano said. The cost is $8,959, Schiccatano said.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in the bell tower but I can’t say this enough that people will love the improvements and the courthouse will look fantastic for all of us,” Schiccatano said.
Another change order was for $4,263 to upgrade wiring as part of the HVAC system.
The entire project includes structural improvements, installation of new electrical and HVAC systems, adding a fourth courtroom and conference center on the second floor, and the restoration of the bell tower.
Bill Anskis Company was awarded the general contracting bid of $2,782,315 that includes two alternates. LTS Plumbing and Heating, of Paxinos, was awarded the HVAC bid of $1,211,000. TRA Electric, of Watsontown, was awarded the electrical bid of $358,355 that includes three alternates.
Carl Kanaskie, of McKissick Associates Architects, of Harrisburg, said additional repairs for the bell tower drove up the budget by a few thousand dollars. The damage was discovered when the scaffolding was put in place, he said.
Visitors to the courthouse say they aren’t really bothered by the construction and look forward to seeing the final product.
“When I come here time to time, it is one of those old courthouses that you appreciate,” Ken Johnson, 54, of Selinsgrove, said. “So to see the county take such an interest and want to make improvements is something residents should be proud of. I can’t wait to see all the changes.”
At times during hearings, the construction can be loud, and sheriff deputies are tasked with the job of trying to close doors, windows and whatever other methods they can think of to soften the noise for the courtrooms, Sheriff Bob Wolfe said.
“We do our best and at times it gets annoying and it does disturb the court but we are all doing our best to keep the noise down,” Wolfe said. “We work with them and if there is any testimony we ask them to stop and let them know when we are done.”