Committee discusses pursuing courthouse security study
Options for elevator, possible single entry to be looked at
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The Oneida County Buildings and Grounds Committee is looking at having a study done to see how security could be improved at the courthouse.
A resolution passed last June by the County Board called for improving courthouse security with the committee reviewing the matter. Committee members discussed the issue Monday when buildings and grounds director Lu Ann Brunette stated $9,000 has been budgeted for a study as to where to put a single point of entry and how a new or repaired elevator would fit into limiting courthouse access to one entrance.
“We have received a quote from Venture Architects, and it would be about $10,000 to have a study done that would indicate where we should have a single point of entry and then to also review elevator location within that study,” Brunette said.
Brunette said the company has done work on the courthouse before and is familiar with the historical aspects of the building.
The resolution for improving security, which supervisors amended to take out references explicitly calling for a single entry point at the courthouse, also included authorizing the sheriff’s department to apply for a federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant to be used for covering some of the costs of adding a sheriff’s deputy for courthouse security. However, committee chairman Billy Fried noted the county was unsuccessful in getting that grant.
“I guess reading that resolution, it seemed to empower this committee to bring some options to the county (board) that they might consider,” Fried said.
Brunette noted $150,000 has been designated for a capital improvement project to repair or replace the elevator at the courthouse. However, she said she favored not doing anything related to the elevator until after a study would be done related to courthouse security, “so we know whether to move forward repairing what we already have, or do we want to use that as a backup and put in a completely new elevator.”
As a committee, Fried said he favored focusing on the elevator and then options with or without possible choices for a single point of entry and the associated costs.
“I don’t want it to be one of those things where we invest a lot of money and then nothing happens,” he said.
Committee member Lance Krolczyk said he believes the county will have no choice except having to go to a single point of entry for improved security.
“It’s got to be coordinated with a single point of entry, even if we just put the elevator in,” Krolczyk said.
Committee members agreed to have Venture Architects appear before them before providing the company direction for conducting a courthouse security study, which could include options for a single point of entry and possibly a new elevator or evaluating the cost associated with the existing elevator.
The courthouse currently is accessible to the public from more than one entrance with no screening for contraband or weapons taking place upon entering the building.