Second half of move delayed until early April
By Kathy Hageman
Dickinson County Public Information Coordinator
Although several Dickinson County offices are back in the renovated courthouse, other departments will wait a little longer.
While the top floor of the courthouse is now occupied by the offices that moved in last week, work is still being completed on the main floor and basement. That means the offices temporarily located in the Abilene Civic Center and other locations will not return to the courthouse until early April.
Originally, plans called for the remainder of the offices to move on March 21; however, during a meeting with project managers last week it was learned that move-in date was a little premature.
“We did not feel it was going to be ready in two weeks,” County Administrator Brad Homman told commissioners during their March 10 meeting. “If we put it off a couple of weeks we think we’ll have cleaning done and construction crews will be out and gone. Everything will be new, nobody will be in the way and we can do it properly.”
Carpet still needs to be installed on the main floor and final electrical work completed. Outside, landscape work still needs to be completed, but the parking lot lights are operational, making it easier for jail staff and others who work at night.
Top floor open
The top floor of the courthouse is open to the public.
“When people come into the courthouse they need to come into the new entrance, go up the east stairs or take the elevator to get to the top floor and then exit the same way,” said County Administrator Brad Homman.
The west staircase currently is blocked off — to be used as a fire exit only so people are not going through what’s left of the construction, Homman said.
Dickinson County District Court, Community Corrections and Court Services moved from its temporary location at Sterl Hall last week onto the top floor of the courthouse where the former jail was located.
Homman said one of the main reasons for moving the top floor offices first was so District Court could get moved out of Sterl Hall as soon as possible.
“We need to get Sterl Hall back to the (Central Kansas Free) fair board,” Homman said. “They have a lot of events scheduled, they want to get going.”
The Dickinson County Attorney’s office moved from the building at 201 E. First Street into the top floor of the courthouse in the area where the court offices were located.
That office building will be demolished later this month.
As for last week’s move, Homman thanked everyone involved for being patient, “stepping up and going above and beyond.”
An open house is planned, but has not yet been scheduled.
Homman said he wants every department to have a couple weeks after the final move in to have time to “settle in” a bit.
Commission Chairman Lynn Peterson thanked the department heads and county staff, noting the courthouse renovation has been a challenge, but now that the project is nearing completion, he applauded them for all they have done.
“I also want to thank the public,” Peterson said. “There were probably times where it was trying for them to figure out what location they should be at (with offices spread out at different locations). But we should have everything wrapped up completely here in a few weeks.”