'Extremely expensive' repairs needed at Kane County Judicial Center

GENEVA – An evaluation of the Kane County Judicial Center’s mechanical systems found hundreds of issues that could take more than $1 million to fix, the Committee of the Whole learned Tuesday.

“It’s going to be extremely expensive,” Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said.

Chief Judge Judith Brawka has advocated for a solution to the judicial center’s too-hot and too-cold temperatures. Rooms can range from the 50s to the 90s, she has said, citing the temperature as the single most consistent complaint she has gotten from the St. Charles Township facility.

In January, the County Board authorized a nearly $40,000 contract with Hill Mechanical Services to perform a study that would help diagnose the judicial center’s HVAC problems.

The independent third party found 449 issues that, by its estimates, could take an estimated $1.245 million to resolve, said Don Biggs, operations staff executive for the county.

But, he said, costs could be lowered to an estimated $860,000 if the county used a different approach. Staff also is recommending an additional $318,000 of investments, including $10,000 in staff training and $60,000 for a full-time maintenance mechanic qualified in HVAC, he said.

The repairs would be completed in phases, Biggs said, suggesting $678,000 in work for 2014. This first phase would address an urgent life-safety issue regarding fire and smoke dampers and would include a fire alarm system replacement, he said.

Board member John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles, recommended moving the life-safety issues forward independently of the other suggested projects and accelerating that process.

Lauzen said he would move those items to the Executive Committee – which is set to meet May 7 – with the board’s permission.

Other problems at the judicial center include the poor water quality in the hot water system, Biggs said.

“The water’s filthy,” he said.

Biggs noted the $1.245 million estimate doesn’t include other aspects that might need repairs in the 23-year-old building, such as plumbing and electrical systems.

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