Engineer needed for building renovation in Brownstown



Now that The Jackson County Banner has moved to a different location, Brownstown officials want to get the former building renovated.

The 5,200-square-foot building at 116 E. Cross St. across from the Jackson County Courthouse will house the town hall and police department.

During a recent town council meeting, Councilwoman Sharon Koch said local resident Brad Isaacs, who works for Janssen & Spaans Engineering, offered to be the go-between with the town and the company they choose to do the renovation.

Isaacs had reached out to one company to be the engineer and certify the drawings, but Koch said their costs were out of the town’s budget.

“I just don’t think that we need everything that they are offering, definitely not for the price,” she said. “(Isaacs) said he would offer his services for a lower rate than (the company) is offering, which is very nice of him. It was nice of him to spend this much time on this plan. He has been very helpful getting information for us.”

Koch then began seeking other companies to do the work. One turned down an offer, so she is looking for another company to help with engineering work and certifying drawings.

The town decided to pursue The Jackson County Banner building because the current location for town offices at 200 W. Walnut St. was built in 1945, is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and does not have adequate space for the police department, which has grown to seven full-time officers.

In April, the purchase agreement was signed after AIM Media Indiana accepted the $60,000 offer for The Jackson County Banner office. AIM Media is the owner and publisher of both The Jackson County Banner and The Tribune.

Preliminary plans were drawn up for the layout. Town attorney Rodney Farrow said because it’s a public building, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security requires an engineer or architect to sign off on the renovation plans before the town does a bid packet.

The remodeling project will include heating, ventilation and air conditioning, electrical, a new roof, a new floor, insulation and moving some walls. The council estimates that cost to be between $150,000 and $200,000.

The town plans to have the clerk-treasurer’s office and a room for town meetings in the front part of the building, while the back will be occupied by the police department.

Inside the front entrance will be a foyer to allow people to walk up to a window to pay a bill or conduct other business. Behind that window will be space for two desks, and Clerk-Treasurer David Willey’s office will be nearby in its own room.

Having a sliding walk-up window will make it more secure for those working in the clerk-treasurer’s office. People also often come into the office for police department-related inquiries.

For after-hours business, the building could have a double-door entry so people can drop off payments and a phone for people needing assistance to be connected to dispatch.

The police department would have three offices, cubicles in the squad room and an interview room.

On Friday, The Jackson County Banner and the Brownstown Chamber of Commerce moved into their new location at the Ewing Depot, 1200 W. Spring St. In January, Brownstown/Ewing Main Street signed the deed of that property over to the town.

The newspaper office will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, while the chamber will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The town plans to sell the building that currently houses the town hall, police department and street department at 200 W. Walnut St.

Once that happens, the town plans to put that money toward relocating the street department at the wastewater department on the west side of Brownstown. It’s estimated an 80-by-100-foot building, including office space, restrooms, concrete, electricity and heating, would cost more than $100,000.

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