Firms Hold Future For R.I. Courthouse - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

Firms Hold Future For R.I. Courthouse

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The future of the Rock Island County courthouse rests with one of three design firms.

A county committee spent hours interviewing firms that were asking for the opportunity to help the county decide on what to do with its century-old courthouse.

The committee members asked all the basic questions you would expect during an interview-how much will you charge, does that fee included all the expenses.

The big one was,  "What kind of challenge does the Rock Island county courthouse present?"

All three firms gave a very similar answer.

"It's kind of hard to imagine it not being there. With that said it's going to be expensive to reuse, too," says Dewberry Architects Jim Beight.

"What to build is, is it consolidated, or how do much do we use existing buildings?" asked CGL's Rob Fisch.

One by one each firm presented how it would take previous studies, public input, and county desires into creating a path to a new courthouse. All three firms have experience planning courthouses. The cheapest firm, CGL, would build on previous studies already commissioned by the county.

"We're coming in without any biases or any preconceived notions or what the right thing to do is, we just know the right thing to do is to sort of balance everybody's needs and try to find that consensus," says Fisch.

The most expensive, Dewberry, has worked on county projects before. Its team just finished another county courthouse project.

"We did do the justice center, we did do the jail, and we got one more piece that we'd love to do that kind of completes all of that."

The middle firm, Gere Dismer, says it can answer questions most efficiently.

"There's lessons learned from a lot of different project experiences that we can help to navigate through these tricky waters of answering some of these difficult questions," says architect Dean Roberts.

All three firms say they will also gather the public's input, because they acknowledge, the fate of a public building should partially be decided by its owners-the voters.

Once the county picks a firm, a full report is due by October.

The county wants to have voters weigh in again during the next spring election.

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