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Security upgrade at courthouse

A plan to limit access into the St. Joseph County Courthouse to a single location is moving forward.

The county’s board of commissioners Tuesday agreed to work with Grand Rapids-based Landmark Design for schematic drawings and cost estimates to create the single point of entry.

If the full plan is authorized, access to either the original courthouse portion or the so-called courts building to the south would be at what is currently a ground-level walkway between the two buildings.

In addition, the plan calls for security screening into the courthouse portion of the complex. The courts building section already has a security checkpoint in place.

Landmark officials indicated in a letter to the county that an addition between the two buildings would be needed to allow for an expanded public lobby area as well as the new security station for the courthouse building.

Schematic-design services will cost $1,800. An estimate regarding architectural and engineering services, if the project is approved, is to be determined and will be based on contractor bids and cost of building permits.

Landmark has done other work in St. Joseph County: two jail renovations and a job at the Central Dispatch facility.