At its very foundation, the Jack Kilby project in front of the Barton County Courthouse isn’t costing county taxpayers a dime.
Oh, and by the way, the contractors found that foundation this past week during the construction process, County Administrator Richard Boeckman reported to the Barton County Commission Monday.
Boeckman said there had been questions brought to the county from various sources since the construction in front of the courthouse began, and he stressed that the county doesn’t have any money in this project.
In fact, it’s not even happening on county property.
The Jack Kilby Plaza project is being constructed on Great Bend city park land, because the county’s property includes the courthouse itself and two feet surrounding it, the county administrator explained.
Kilby was a 2000 Nobel Prize winner in physics for the development of the integrated circuit.
That’s the way the land was set up from the time the county and city were begun, back in the 1870s.
And, speaking of ancient history, the contractors turned some up when they began getting down to work to prepare the ground for this change, Boeckman reported.
The workmen came into contact with the old foundation on which once stood the huge outside stairs on the front of the courthouse.
The current building — this is actually the second county courthouse, replacing a brick one that was built back in the 1870s — originally had a huge set of exterior stairs and the official entrance was where the second floor west-central windows are now located.
When those were removed, their foundation was left in place and that was uncovered recently.
Boeckman commented it created extra work that the contractor had not anticipated.
But back to the cost of the project, which will feature the new entrance pavement, lighting, plantings and a larger-than-life statue of Kilby, the project isn’t being funded by city taxpayers either.
As was explained previously, this whole project has been funded by contributions, which were raised by the Jack Kilby Committee.
At the Great Bend City Council meeting when the final arrangements for the construction were approved, City Attorney Bob Suelter told the council members that the successful bid from Eby Construction to complete the plaza area in 84 days for $408,085, was below the engineering estimates for this project.
At that city meeting, Kilby Committee Chairman Glenn Opie explained the committee is ready to see the project move forward. “It’s been a long road, but it’s been well worth it.”
And it was suggested that the project will be done under-time, if possible.