Courthouse expansion plan to be revised

A network of buried utilities has forced the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners to revise its plan for an expansion to the current courts building.
County administrator Pat Yoder during Tuesday’s commission meeting said the proposed 14,000-square-foot addition to the west side of the current courts building is being revised due to the discovery.
Yoder said the grid of utilities – including sensitive and difficult-to-relocate gas, power and sewer lines – means the proposed addition will have to be shifted primarily to the east side of the current courts building.
The move means a likely modification in the size of the proposed addition as well as the significant loss of parking on the east side of the courthouse complex.
Yoder said the projected loss of parking will be mitigated by the county’s June purchase of land at the southeast corner of Dean and Burr Oak streets. The house at 205 Dean St. has been leveled and the lot will be used for courthouse parking. Yoder said the lot will actually create 20 percent more parking space than what it will likely be losing.
Yoder said he expects to have an updated plan regarding the addition’s new design by the end of January.

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