Lexington officials have selected a Louisville firm for architectural and design services for the $30 million overhaul of the former Fayette County Courthouse on Main Street downtown.
The $2,480,000 contract with K. Norman Berry Associates Architects needs to get final approval from the Urban County Council. That vote is expected Nov. 19.
As part of the current-year budget, the council included $22 million in borrowing for an overhaul of the courthouse. The $2,480,000 will come from that budget.
Seven firms responded to the requests for proposals for the engineering and architectural services.
City officials selected AU Associates, a Lexington firm that specializes in reuse and affordable housing projects, and CityVisions Associates of Louisville, as project managers in April.
The city is trying to take advantage of federal and state tax credits that could pay for the remaining $8 million needed for the project cost. To take part in the state tax credit programs, the city has to spend money on the project by June 30, 2017.
K. Norman Berry Associates will first work on design and engineering services for exterior improvements to the courthouse, said Sally Hamilton, the city's chief administrative officer. Shoring up the exterior of the courthouse will come first, Hamilton said. Some sidewalks around the courthouse were closed last year because of concerns that parts of the courthouse's exterior were starting to separate from the building.
"We are hoping to bid the exterior package this spring," Hamilton said. K. Norman Berry Associates will begin its work as soon as the council gives final approval, Hamilton said. Next, the city will hire a construction manager. The construction manager will work with K. Norman Berry Associates to develop the bids for the exterior improvements, Hamilton said.
The public will start seeing work on the courthouse by late spring, she said Tuesday.
A March study — by EOP Architects and Preservation Design Partnership, a Philadelphia firm — said years of neglect and poorly executed renovations had left the courthouse in disrepair. The courthouse has been shuttered since 2012.
Construction costs include a new roof; an overhaul of the electrical, HVAC and plumbing systems; and restoration of the masonry on the outside of the building.
In addition to the engineering contract, the council must also approve a $60,000 contract for Reed Weitkamp Schell & Vice and Frost Brown Todd for legal services for the complex redevelopment project.
The overall plans call for a gutting and remodeling of the courthouse to turn it into space that could be leased.