Jackson County is a step closer to fixing the Downtown Courthouse elevators that have been a headache for officials since flooding in the building early this year.
The County Legislature is set to vote next Monday on a $6.36 million contract with the Schindler Elevator Corporation of Kansas City, the sole bidder for the work. The county says it solicited and encouraged other bidders, as well.
Replacing all six elevators is expected to begin immediately and take more than a year.
Two elevators are set aside for security, such as transporting defendants facing trial. Four are open to employees and the 2,000 or so members of the public who visit the building daily. Jurors, for instance, use them to report to court on the third floor.
Two of those four have been out of commission most of the year. At one point in August, just one public elevator was running, prompting the presiding judge of the Circuit Court of Jackson County, David M. Byrn, to say the county was failing to follow state law that obliges counties to “maintain … a good and sufficient courthouse.”
The courthouse at 415 E. 12th St. in downtown Kansas City is 87 years old, and the elevators are said to be original equipment. For several years, county officials have acknowledged the need to replace them.
On Jan. 31 a large water main outside the courthouse burst, flooding the basement. Days later, additional water leaks sprung, including a water line break on the sixth floor. In addition to damage to offices, two of the public elevators were knocked out.
The new elevators are to be thoroughly modern with what the county calls “new cab interiors, a destination dispatch system, in car video displays and other technological devices … to ensure that the system is updated, safe and effective.”