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Joint City/County Building Study Could Cost $174K

Study examining space need at Waukesha County Courthouse will look at adding city offices to the county building.

A space needs analysis to determine if Waukesha County should rebuild or remodel the county courthouse could cost the city $15,632 as the city looks to see if it should locate offices to the courthouse.

Waukesha County would pay $158,245 for the study that would review the possibility of relocating City Hall to the county building. The combined $173,877 expense is under the $250,000 budget proposed by the county.

“The study will provide information on where the City Hall would be located in the building; what spaces could be shared; how access and security would be accommodated; the cost to the city for construction; other information needed to make an informed decision on this matter,” said City Administrator Ed Henschel in a memo to the Finance Committee.

The Finance Committee will be taking up the request at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday during its meeting at the Waukesha Police Department. If approved, the funding request would be advanced to the Waukesha Police Department.

Waukesha County had budgeted $250,000 for an analysis of the space needs. Henschel told Patch in December the city recently received a separate report about its space need. The consultants for Bray Architects, which conducted the city’s space needs analysis, wrapped up its review of City Hall in October. City Hall was built in 1966 and the possibilities of remodeling, rebuilding or remodeling the building would come at a high cost to the city.

"By sheer coincidence, the same day that Bray submitted their report, I was meeting with the county executive, who mentioned to me that the county was going to be conducting a space needs analysis or site plan for the remodeling or the construction of the current courthouse,” Henschel said in December.

With capital projects coming in at a high price, Henschel said he was “very hard pressed to imagine that we would be able to build a stand-alone new City Hall” or even fund major renovations or remodel costs for the current building. But working with the county could keep some of those costs from property taxes and could also keep additional property from coming off the tax rolls.

“We have had a couple of discussion with the county since then,” Henschel said. “They apparently have concluded that it is an idea at least worth pursuing.”

“Waukesha County and City of Waukesha wish to pursue a design option to combine county and city operations in one facility,” states a county request for proposal document. “This ‘alternate’ will also require a well thought out and detailed presentation as to how the existing courthouse will function in its present location during a renovation or reconstruction of a new courthouse, and will also include selection of a site on county grounds to design and construct this facility.”

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