2011-03-24 / Front Page

County Saves Jail . . . Again

Historical Society asked to raise funding for exterior work
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Hoping to strike while the iron is hot and there is still interest from the community, Fulton County Historical Society members Dick Miller and Glenn Cordell are slated to sit down with fellow society members later this week to ascertain if there is sufficient interest in raising money to refinish the exterior of the sheriff’s office.

In meeting with the Fulton County commissioners on Tuesday afternoon, Miller and Cordell along with Jack Hendricks, Ronnie Richards, David Wright and Randy Bunch learned the commissioners have axed their plans for the time being to demolish mid-19th century sheriff’s office and replace it with a more modern facility.

Richards stated he was “glad to hear” the announcement, which was the “right thing to do.” According to Richards, even though his primary issues with the project were not focused on a historic aspect, he was concerned about the financial impact of a new sheriff’s office on future generations.

Former county treasurer Wright mirrored Richards’ comments, exclaiming he was “thrilled.”

Commissioner Bonnie Mellott Keefer stated their decision to renovate was based on the findings of a structural analysis completed by an engineer since their March 3 town meeting in Thompson Township. The analysis confirmed that all problems identified in the jail are indeed “fixable” and ranged from the replacement of attic rafters to mold removal.

Returning to their former plans to renovate, the commissioners stated it is their desire to install a shingle roof as well as electric, windows and do various interior work, including new drywall and office areas. With the exterior work needing a serious upgrade as well, the commissioners then asked Miller, society president, and Cordell if the Historical Society would consider establishing an endowment or taking over the exterior project as their own with money coming from possible grants and community donations.

Miller responded the jail is not registered but is within the confines of the historic district. He also reminded those in attendance that with so many other projects and fundraisers under way in the community, he was unsure if people would support this specific project. Richards said that, as a local businessman, he is continually asked to donate to various ongoing efforts.

Moving on to what exterior work would be required and a possible ballpark cost, the group deferred to local contractor Randy Bunch for his advice. Bunch made several suggestions, including concrete siding that resembles wood grain, a brick veneer and staining. Using a prevailing wage and an estimate of $500 per 10 foot square, Bunch ballparked the concrete siding and installation at $30,000 to $35,000. Concrete would cost at least three times as much as the siding, he concluded.

The commissioners said they preferred brick, but would be agreeable to concrete siding.

Cordell commented even though materials can be fabricated to lend a more historical appeal to a building, something is lost when using modern materials.

“The outside will be a costly process,” said Commissioner Keefer.

It was a suggested a plaque could be erected within the sheriff’s office to commemorate various levels of donations.

“What if six to eight years from now something hasn’t been done to the exterior?” questioned Commissioner David Hoover II.

“People are in tune with this,” responded Wright, who urged the commissioners and Historical Society to move quickly to ensure a successful fundraising campaign.

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