Courthouse Annex Floor Plans OK’d,
But What About Exterior Details?
MILFORD — The proposed Pike County Courthouse expansion project will move forward amidst concerns on what the final outcome of the exterior façade will be and whether or not it will blend with the historic Milford District.
In a conference meeting held May 6, President Judge Joseph Kameen, Judge Gregory Chelak, Court Administrator Samantha Venditti and Sheriff Phil Bueki approved the draft floor plans for the new courthouse addition with the commissioners signing off and giving the go ahead to the engineer to move forward with the final plans.
Milford Borough business owner Sean Strub is concerned since there are no outside renderings showing the elevation or even what style of design the new addition would have, which he believes is important given the location of the adjacent 1873 courthouse and surrounding historic buildings.
He went on to say that while the floor plan is quite specific and indicates indentations where exterior doors and windows would be located which would manifest onto the outside façade, it still remains unclear.
The approved floor plan calls for an approximately 19,200-square-foot, three-story addition extending on the southern side of the 140-year old courthouse.
Expanding or reconstructing the antiquated courthouse has been on the back burner for the county commissioners for decades with complaints of inadequate space and safety issues. Last year the commissioners moved forward in floating a $10 million, low-interest bond to finance the project.
According to Strub, there are serious building code and building performance issues that would need to be evaluated that would directly affect and restrict the design parameters for the exterior of the building, such as assessment of proper lighting and venting requirements; egress, which impacts door styles, ramps, and handrails; method of construction, and mechanical systems, which impact how they will address disguising or hiding the mechanical plant that will heat and cool the addition.
Strub also took issue as to why there were no documents referencing studies or analyses on alternate county locations such as using the “former gas station/dry cleaner on Broad Street next to the Columns, or the PennDOT building or a permanent, rather than temporary, use of the Mahlame building,” he stated in a letter.
In an interview, Commissioner Matt Osterberg said that the preliminary floor plans have finally been approved so they can move forward with the engineer providing renderings. He explained that they did not have rendering completed before the layout was approved since it would be an unnecessary, added expense.
He expects that sometime in the next several weeks engineers will complete the exterior plans, which will then go before Milford’s Architectural Review Board and Borough Council... for complete story, get this week's issue.