Will Co. advances office relocation plan
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com August 22, 2014 6:08PM
Updated: August 24, 2014 2:17AM
The former Social Security building in downtown Joliet will become the new offices for the Will County coroner and recorder of deeds.
The county board on Thursday awarded a contract to remodel the building, 158 N. Scott St., to Lite Construction, of Montgomery, for $1.35 million. Work will begin in September and be completed in December.
The coroner’s office will move from its office at 57 N. Ottawa St., and the recorder’s office will vacate its leased space at 58 E. Clinton St., which it shares with the county land use department and public defender’s office.
The moves are part of the county’s plan to reduce rented facilities and consolidate services. By moving the recorder’s office, the county will save $250,000 per year in rent, county officials said.
Earlier this year, the county purchased the former Social Security building for $800,000.
“We are spending more (to remodel) this building than we paid for it,” board member Mike Fricilone, R-Homer Glen, said, suggesting that in the future the board analyze the cost of building new vs. buying an older building to remodel.
The plan is to make the former Social Security building part of the county government complex “for years to come,” County Executive Larry Walsh said. “We thought we should do it right.”
The county this year also bought the four-story First Midwest Bank building at the southwest corner of Ottawa and Jefferson streets for $4 million. That building eventually may be torn down for a new courthouse.
Because it may take several years to secure funding for a new courts complex, the county board plans to remodel the bank building to temporarily house the sheriff’s department.
Darien-based Wight and Co. has been hired for $1.2 million to assess the needs, space and cost of a new judicial complex that could include courtrooms, jury rooms, a law library and the offices of the circuit court clerk, state’s attorney, public defender and court administration, some of which are now scattered in downtown Joliet.
Board member Steve Balich, R-Homer Glen, said the county should acquire a vacant site and “build everything the way we want it and get away from these old buildings.”
Wight is also assessing vacant sites elsewhere in the county as potential courthouse locations, board member Denise Winfrey, D-Joliet, said.