County board votes to replace windows in the Courthouse

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When it approved the bid of Sussner Construction for the $3.6 million renovation of the Swift County Courthouse, the board of commissioners left out the replacing of the building’s windows.

They knew the windows were not energy efficient and that people feel a “breeze” through some of them on cold days. Concerned with the cost of the project, commissioners decided to leave the window replacement for another time.

They did, however, vote to go ahead with a repair of the windows, which by itself was estimated to cost around $180,000.

But at its meeting last Tuesday, May 15, the board of commissioners decided with Sussner still working on the courthouse renovation, now was most cost effective time to put new windows in the building.

On a 5-0 vote, the board voted to spend $456,652 to replace the courthouse windows. Commissioners Eric Rudningen, District 5- Kerkhoven, Pete Peterson, District 5-south Benson and Torning Township, Joe Fox, District 4-Hegbert Township, and Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appelton, voted in favor of the work. Commissioner Ed Pederson, District 2-north Benson and Benson Township, didn’t respond when the vote was called, which under Roberts Rules of Order, counts as an affirmative vote. He said he was voting no after the vote was taken, but it would take a special meeting to now change his vote.

Most of the windows in the courthouse were installed in 1993, and are non-insulated single pane units of various styles, Administrator Kelsey Baker said.
Further, she told commissioners in a memo “transom windows in-filled with solid panels to create plenum space have poor insulation value. These windows do not provide the energy efficiency characteristics that we have just updated in the courthouse, therefore place additional burden on the HVAC system.”

Baker said there is about  $230,000 remaining in the courthouse capital improvement fund that could be put toward the windows, but the county would have to pull from reserves to cover the remaining $226,652.

Baker has told Sussner and Wold Architects & Engineers that she wants to see the project done the right way so that in 20 to 30 years the county isn’t saying “because we wanted to pinch dollars back in 2017-18, we are going to have to redo this.” Wold is the firm that designed and oversaw the renovation work at the courthouse....


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