A water leak that damaged the Piatt County board meeting room may eventually allow the space to be more flexible after a necessary remodel.

The county building and grounds committee decided to take out a platform where board members sit, making it level with the remainder of the room. The approximately 7-inch step was damaged, along with the county board table and chairs, when a sink in a second-floor county courthouse bathroom overflowed and leaked into the board room late last year.

“The one advantage of not having a stage is that if you wanted to reconfigure the room for some other purpose. Say you’ve got a speaker making a presentation,” said County Board Chairman Ray Spencer. The lack of an elevated area would also make it more flexible when used for elections.

The room has about 600 square feet of floor space.

Spencer did admit that the sight lines from the audience to the board may not be as clear without the platform. But in the relatively small room it was pointed out that it may not make much of a difference. A higher table (or more individual desks) and chairs may be purchased for board members in order to keep them visible.

Keeping the entire floor flat will also make it easier to meet Americans With Disabilities Act standards. If the platform was rebuilt it would need to meet ADA standards, with a 3-foot wide ramp. That could make it difficult to fit the ramp beside the county board desk(s).

“I go both ways,” said committee chairman Shannon Carrol on the decision of visibility versus flexibility.

The makeup of the renovated space is to be determined. A discussion of adjustable desks for county board members was held, along with making them portable so that the space could be rearranged when needed.

Repair work should be completed in the next two weeks, with the possibility the county board will be able to meet there for its Feb. 10 meeting. That would likely be done with temporary tables and chairs, as an order for replacement furniture will take three to six weeks.

If the Feb. 10 session cannot be held in the county board meeting room, the location of that session is not clear. They can sometimes be moved to one of the two courtrooms, but that depends on the court schedule. If they are not available, it could be moved offsite to the Livingston Center or other non-county building.

Committee meetings this month have been held in an EMA meeting room located in the basement of the Piatt County Office Building, but it is not large enough to handle a full board session.

Repairs to the second floor courthouse are also nearly complete. It suffered water damage to a wall due to a different leak.

Mental Health/Piattran parking lot

The committee also voted to move forward with a plan to install 14 more parking places at the west end of the Piatt County Mental Health Center/Piatt County Transportation lot in Monticello.

The work would include a concrete lot and curb, striping, seed and mulch in disturbed areas, removal of a tree, and manhole adjustment. An initial cost estimate is $49,000, which would be paid by Piattran with Illinois Department of Transportation dollars.

The next step is for a drainage engineer to approve the project, a requirement from the City of Monticello.

County Engineer Eric Seibring said he could help in drawing up specifications for a formal request for proposal, but that drainage work was outside of his certification.

Seibring said his only concern is that the 20-foot long lot provides only a “narrow backup area,” but would know more once formal measurements were taken.

Piattran Director Jami Trybom said the dollars need to be used by September of this year, adding that an extensive government bid process is needed prior to breaking grounds.

Thanks to the city

County Maintenance Supervisor Doug Winder thanked the City of Monticello for lending a boom truck and other equipment to help the county.

“The city has worked with us quite a bit over the last few months,” he said. “The city has been a real asset.”

He also said an energy audit may be in order for the PCOB, noting that utilities are costing about $1.04 per square foot, compared to about 68 to 80 cents per square foot at the 1903-era courthouse.

Mental Health Center Tony Kirkman said a Halo LED purification system has been installed at the MHC using grant funds.

“I was told it is hospital grade,” he told the committee.

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