Caldwell Building

Gideon Bradshaw/Observer-Reporter

Washington County recently purchased the Caldwell Building in downtown Washington.

The Washington County commissioners last week entered into a $95,500 contract with EMCOR Services/Scalise Industries Corp. of Lawrence to upgrade the heating system in the Caldwell Building across the street from the courthouse.

Justin Welsh, director of building and grounds, requested permission to remove an existing boiler and replace it with new, high-efficiency boilers including pipe, new pumps, valves, startup and commissioning of new boilers in the Caldwell Building. The cost is to be covered by Act 13 proceeds from natural gas wells.

“There’s some work that needs to be done prior to the installation of the new boiler, but it will take approximately four weeks for the boiler to come in,” wrote Randy Vankirk, Washington County purchasing director, in response to an email inquiry.

The addition of a seventh judge to the Washington County bench has necessitated changes at the courthouse, and after the county purchased the Caldwell Building for $400,000, District Attorney Gene Vittone and an assistant prosecutor filed for an injunction to halt the relocation of their various offices.

The adversaries eventually settled the matter under an agreement that requires the county to provide security and comply with both the city’s building code and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In another matter, the commissioners approved an agreement with the Washington County Firemen’s Association to repair the bridge to Western Avenue, Houston, leading to the fire training facility.

Washington County will donate $75,000 from Act 13 funds to the firemen’s association for the project, and the association will hire a qualified bridge contractor to complete the work.

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