Less than two weeks
after the bid was awarded, renovation of the entry plaza at the Porter
County Government Administration Center at 155 Indiana Ave. in Valparaiso
began on Monday, Sept. 11, as Gariup Construction positioned its equipment
and fenced off the area.
When completed, the
new plaza will include a sloped walkway with lighted handrails that leads to
the front doors, which was designed to be ADA compliant and easier for
seniors to traverse. The walkway will include an underground heating system
that will prevent ice and snow accumulation in the winter months, improving
safety and reducing salt and snow removal costs.
Also to be
installed is an underground storage tank to collect stormwater runoff that
will be used to irrigate the improved landscaping. This state of the art
stormwater system will benefit the environment and assist the County in
meeting their public education requirements as part of the Municipal
Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program.
The new plaza will
also include several raised tree planter boxes. The concrete ledges around
the planters can be used as seating during the warm weather months for
people to come, eat lunch or just relax in the downtown area. The project
will also include outdoor lighting around the entire Administration Center
building for security and aesthetics.
“In addition to
making the plaza more accessible, safer, ADA compliant and less costly to
maintain, we wanted to make it a comfortable and welcoming place for people
to gather,” said Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South. “We are literally
removing barriers to the Administration Center and inviting people to visit
and enjoy what is truly their county building.”
The building is
currently accessible through the front entrance via the current handicap
ramp, but there may be a period of time when accessibility will only be
available through the parking garage. The County will post any changes about
accessibility on their website at
www.porterco.org and their Facebook page.
at $1 million, the Gariup Construction bid came in substantially lower at
$932,500. The plaza renovation is part of the Building For The Future
Capital Upgrade Plan proposed by the Commissioners in July.
This is the second
of six projects in the plan that are already underway. The other project
that the Commissioners have begun to implement is the replacement or
rehabilitation of three bridges that are rated as the most deficient in
“We spent over a
year studying, evaluating and developing the Capital Upgrade Plan,” said
Commissioner President Jeff Good, R-Center. “Now, we are moving full speed
ahead to implement it. That is the kind of pro-active government that the
residents of Porter County deserve.”