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Treasurer to move to Courthouse first floor
Foot traffic volume prompts change
courthouse hvac tour 1
A crew from Kruse Corporation of Wichita works on the Barton County Courthouse HVAC project Tuesday afternoon. County commissioners toured the building Tuesday to see that the improvements were moving along. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

When the Barton County Courthouse reopens after the year-long heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvement project, there will be some shuffling of county offices. As part of the $226,778.76 change order approved the County Commission Tuesday morning, the busy Treasurer’s Office will move from the second floor to the first floor, said County Administrator Matt Patzner.

The Treasurer’s Office will relocated to room 107, allowing for easier access for the public. To facilitate the move, Emergency Risk Management will occupy room 102, the Administrator and Human Resources will occupy room 108, and Engineering and Mapping will occupy room 206.

“All departments are equally important,” said commission Chairman Shawn Hutchinson. “But, most of our foot traffic goes to the Treasurer’s Office. Moving them to the first floor makes sense. We are absolutely doing this for the benefit of our taxpayers.”

“I think this is a greatly needed improvement,” said District 4 Commissioner Tricia Schlessiger. Although she cringes at the thought of change orders, she said this is the best, and only, chance they had to make the switch.

County Treasurer Jim Jordan appreciated the change.  

First-hand look

Following action on the office changes, the commission joined County Administrator Patzner on a tour of the Courthouse. Commissioners wanted to see the progress of HVAC replacement, and try to envision first-hand the planned relocations.

What greeted them was a dark, echoing building. The drop ceilings were removed, wiring, duct work and piping dangled, and a coating of dust covered the remaining fixtures inside.

Crews scrambled around. There were sounds of saws cutting and torches welding.

“It looks so weird. It looks so different,” said District 1 Commissioner Duane Reif. Much of what they saw exposed had not been seen for decades.

As they walked through the labyrinth of rooms and offices that make up the three floors, they pointed out and chatted over the improvements that are coming. They talked about walls that are being removed, and those that will be added.

On Feb., 8, the commission approved a bid from Kruse Corporation of Wichita for a base bid of $4,182,000 to replace the  HVAC system. Orazem & Scalora Engineering of Wichita is handling the engineering for the effort. 

A Kruse employee unscrolled rolls of plan drawings, painting a picture of what the project will look like once completed.

courthouse hvac tour 2
This sign denotes what is now the Administration Office at the Barton County Courthouse. The space will become the County Treasurer’s Office when the Courthouse reopens after the HVAC work is completed. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune