New courthouse will cost more, officials say

February 04, 1994|By Staff Report

The price tag for the county's new Circuit Courthouse on Church Circle in Annapolis is $12 million higher than officials had estimated.

There were some raised eyebrows yesterday when members of the planning advisory board were informed that the $43.6 million courthouse is now a $55.6 million project.

Asked by board members for an explanation, Assistant County Engineer Rodell E. Phaire offered three reasons.

First, money to relocate the sheriff's and state's attorney's offices was going to come from funds remaining in an account the County Council eliminated last year. Now, those expenses will have to come out of the actual courthouse project.

In addition, renovating the 1824 courthouse, estimated at $5.5 million, was to be a separate project. But the Annapolis Historic District Commission, which has veto power over building projects in the historic district, insisted that the renovation be included as part of the construction project.

Finally, Mr. Phaire said, there is the "oops factor." In coming up with the project's cost, officials failed to include a construction contingency fund for cost overruns and unforeseen problems.

If the courthouse project is approved by the planning advisory board and the County Council, the state's attorney's building will be demolished in August, and construction on the new building will begin late this year.

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