CEDAR CITY – Several Iron County employees with offices located in Parowan spent this last week moving to their new home in Cedar City as the county courthouse begins a $2.5 million renovation.
The courthouse is slated for closure Jan. 17 for approximately 10 months to a year.
Iron County Clerk Jon Whittaker said it has taken his office alone two weeks, two U-Hauls and dozens of trips back and forth to make the move but they should be done by Monday.
“We may not be completely set up Monday but we should be done moving,” Whittaker said. “It’s been quite the job. We have more than 40 years of stuff to move. But it’s also been a good thing because we’ve been able to do some housecleaning. There’s been records and things we’ve found we don’t need anymore and they’ve been kept longer than we had to. So in that regard, it’s nice because we’ve been able to clear out and clean up.”
The 42-year-old building was constructed in 1974 and while it is still architecturally sound, it is in desperate need of repairs specific to plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning.
The renovations are focused on bringing these areas up to code and will not include structural remodeling except where it is needed to bring the building into compliance with federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards, Commissioner Dale Brinkerhoff said.
“The building doesn’t need walls removed or the roof redone but it’s in desperate need of plumbing, heating and electrical repairs,” Brinkerhoff said. “Its old and there have been weeks where we’ve had to shut down for days to make repairs and this way we’re just getting it all done at once.”
While the building is being renovated, county offices housed at the courthouse will be relocated to the Fiddlers Canyon building in Cedar City at 88 E. Fiddlers Canyon Road. The Department of Motor Vehicles office in Parowan will be permanently closed during this time. In the interim, residents will have to go to the Cedar City DMV office at 82 N. 100 East.
The County Commission has made arrangements with Parowan City to hold its regular meetings scheduled on the second and fourth Monday of each month in the City Council chambers located at 35 E. 100 North. Under Utah Code, the commission is required to meet in Parowan, the county seat.
Following the renovations, the commission chambers will be moved to the south courtroom on the second floor that will be better equipped to hold more people and also handle today’s technology demands.
The other courtroom across the hall to the north will remain in use by Parowan Justice Court.
“They still need a courtroom there but they don’t need two anymore so that room will make a nice commission chambers,” Brinkerhoff said.
The renovation is budgeted at around $2.5 million. Of that, approximately $790,000 is funded by a Community Impact Board grant and another $790,000 by a CIB loan at a low interest rate. The county is pulling $1 million out of the rainy day fund to finance the rest of it.
Brinkerhoff said he plans to have the loan entirely paid off before leaving office in two years.
Initially, the commissioners debated whether to renovate the building in stages but after receiving the CIB money, Whittaker said, they decided to do it all at once.
The renovation is saving the county about $5 million; that’s what it would have cost had the commissioners voted to construct a new building, something Whittaker and the commissioners felt strongly is not needed at this time.
“Buildings generally last about 80 years before a new one has to be built,” Whittaker said, “so this is perfect time because we’re about halfway there. So after this remodel we should be good for another 40 years.”
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