The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 2, 2013

Out of order: Courthouse elevator to be replaced

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Garfield County commissioners had planned to replace the courthouse elevator, but those plans were moved up when the elevator quit this winter.

Board Chairman Marc Bolz said the contract with Schindler Elevator is $126,607, plus one change order adding $15,923 to the job. The process of replacing the elevator requires some preliminary work in the control room. Garfield County Assessor Wade Patterson said the elevator is original to the courthouse, which was built in 1936.

Parts are no longer available, and the entire system must be replaced.

The components are in the control room, which is on the fifth floor of Garfield County Court House downtown. The room must be made larger for the new equipment. The control backs up to an old cell dating from when the county jail was at the courthouse. The jail has walls that are 10 inches thick with reinforced concrete. The wall must be removed, but Patterson said there is plenty of room on the floor, since the jail is not used anymore.

“They took the bars out of the old jail last year, but they didn’t address the area behind the elevator. They will take that wall out, but it will be added expense,” Patterson said.

Bolz said commissioners knew they would need to replace the elevator and have been setting aside funds to do the work. They have the money on hand now, and once work begins there is a six-week installation period.

The new elevator will be automated and no longer be manned. Garfield County had one of the last elevator operators in the state, Patterson said.

“It’s never easy to come up with that kind of money, and it’s not convenient, especially for someone with ADA issues,” he said.

Bolz said the elevator went out in late-January or early February, but commissioners already had replacement in the budget, they just did not expect to have to replace it so soon.

Bolz said commissioners hope the elevator is back in operation by early summer, but it may be longer. Renee McIntosh, deputy county clerk, said according to the contract there is six months preliminary work to be done before the elevator is installed, according to the state elevator inspector.

“We’re hoping it’s less than six months,” Bolz said.

The current art deco-style courthouse was built by Hawk & Parr and Reinhart & Donovan beginning on Aug. 15, 1934, and completed in 1936. The jail was refurbished in the 1960s. The courthouse consists of county offices and courtrooms housed in the basement and the first three floors. Garfield County Jail occupied the top two floors until Garfield County Detention Facility was built on South 10th.

The courthouse was funded by the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project. Artist Ruth Augur painted historical murals on the buildings walls. In 1996, Enid artists Paladine Roye and Burgess Roye also painted murals relating to American Indian history.