JANESVILLE

Construction on security upgrades at the Rock County Courthouse is on schedule to be completed by fall, facilities management Director Brent Sutherland said last week.

Upgrades include reconfiguring the building’s west-side entrance by adding a new security screening station and ripping out the staircase at the east-side entrance and installing a ramp and elevator.

Sutherland said crews are currently removing the east-side staircase and that the elevator shaft has been installed. Bitter cold spells earlier this year delayed construction by about two weeks, but crews remain on schedule, Sutherland said.

Beginning April 29, the east-side parking garage will close for 10 weeks to install a four-inch coat of concrete, Sutherland said.

Rock County Board members approved the contract for the security upgrades in October. About $5.2 million is budgeted this year for construction.

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Temporary walls are in place in the lobby to block off ongoing construction Thursday, April 18, 2019, at the Rock County Courthouse in Janesville.

About $1.7 million was budgeted for the project’s first phase of security upgrades, which the county board approved in March 2017. That phase called for more than 150 new security cameras, updates to panic alarms and “energized hardware” and badge access to 92 doors.

Construction on security enhancements comes amid conversations about arming third-party security guards at the current security screening station in the building’s second floor lobby.

In February, Global Security Service, a private security company, proposed arming its guards who screen visitors. The move would have added an additional $45,784 to the county’s three-year contract with the company.

Members of the Rock County Board’s General Services Committee tabled the resolution in February, cooling conversations on the matter indefinitely.

Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson told The Gazette in March he supports arming guards and would feel more comfortable if sheriff’s deputies managed the screening station.

“I think there’s a bigger discussion that needs to take place, and I think it’s a critical discussion,” Knudson said.

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Construction on a new security scanning area is ongoing in the lobby Thursday, April 18, 2019, at the Rock County Courthouse in Janesville. The walls to the right are temporary and will come down after construction is completed.

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