Mitchell County Courthouse Elevator Moving Up In The World

The Mitchell County Commissioners met on Monday morning this week. Maintenance Supervisor Brian Streit appeared to continue discussion on upgrades to the courthouse elevator from last week’s meeting. A proposal had been submitted by Nolan Bristow of Thyssen-Krup Elevator of Wichita.

Bristow presented a multi-page proposal to perform certain work in order to modernize the courthouse elevator and get it back in compliance with code. The upgrades also promise to drastically increase the efficiency of the elevator while providing monitoring services as well.

Bristow said old control systems use much more power than modern control systems do. Inferring a cost savings, over time, on energy usage. The quoted cost of the upgrades in the proposal was $67,893. The proposal was valid for a period of 45 days as of its submission on March 13.

Following discussion, the commissioners approved the nearly $68,000 expenditure as well as additional costs for electrical prep work which are yet to be determined. Components for the upgrades will take up to seven weeks to build off-site. The installation of the upgrades are then expected to take two to three weeks to complete.

Thyssen-Krup said the installation could be done in as little as 48 hours. However, that would mean multiple work crews on-site and significantly increased costs. To an extent that it was a prohibitive option for the commissioners in terms of budgeting for the project. The elevator will be monitored electronically by Thyssen-Krup, and they have a service technician in Minneapolis. From start to finish the process is expected to take about three months, but the elevator will only be out-of-service for two to three weeks.

Next, they will set a time table for the work to be done which least interferes with the functionality of the court house. Streit said the elevator gets more use than many people may realize, making as many as 100 trips per day during peak times of the year.

There are likely to be some inconveniences no matter when the work is done, but the commissioners are consciously efforting to make the process as seamless as possible. The current elevator is not in compliance and it is old enough that there are some safety concerns with it. If it were to break down, it could be closed for several months instead of a small handful of weeks.

The commissioners then approved a Family Medical Leave Act request for a county employee for a yet to be determined duration. The Family Medical Leave Act, according to a federal government website, allows for leave due to an ongoing illness for a period of up to 12 weeks.

Kelly Leister of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBS) appeared to discuss air ambulance changes and to provide an update on the county’s policies. When asked about the potential repeal and replacement of the “Affordable Care Act” Leister said she was initially hearing not to expect any changes until 2019. More lately, she said she is hearing it will likely be 2020 at the earliest.

She said Eagle Med no longer has a service contract with BCBS. She said they have worked out arrangements with other providers. Eagle Med will still be an option if there was an emergency and if they were the quickest service who could respond.

The commissioners are next scheduled to meet on Monday, March 27 at 8:30 a.m. at the Mitchell County Courthouse.