By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Four of the eight Canadian County officers have been appointed to decide which architects to interview to prepare plans and cost estimates for a new county courthouse complex.
Canadian County Commissioners would then hire a firm to develop the design of a multi-level courthouse/administration building in the county seat. Contractors will be used construct the new county government facility.
Estimated construction cost has not been determined.
Canadian County Commissioners, at their Jan. 9 meeting, started the process by appointing members of the architect selection committee: District 3 Commissioner Tracey Rider, County Clerk Sherry Murray, Court Clerk Marie Hirst, and County Treasurer Jay Arnold.
“We can start the ball rolling and get some momentum going forward,” County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson told Rider and new District 1 Commissioner Tom Manske.
Many Canadian County officers and department directors want to have a new state-of-the-art facility to house the county’s administrative and judicial offices.
But Canadian County Commissioners must first engage an architect to help them project the cost.
“We’ve talked about this over the last couple of years, but this is something I want you to have some ownership in,” Anderson advised Rider and Manske.
“We have been approached by a couple of different architects. Now that you both are seated, I want to start the process of selecting candidates for serious interviews and making the selection.”
Canadian County’s current 60-year-old administration building, 201 N Choctaw, is outdated and has been plagued by mechanical problems.
Several Canadian County government offices – like the assessor and election board – are housed in other buildings.
Canadian County’s judges, courtrooms, the District Attorney’s Office, and Court Clerk’s Office occupy the Judicial Building at 301 N Choctaw.
ALREADY HAVE $18 MILLION
In recent years, Canadian County Commissioners have set aside $8 million in the county general fund budget to develop a new, larger courthouse complex due to the county’s steady growth.
Another $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds have been earmarked for this project.
Canadian County has been awarded $28 million through this federal stimulus package, having already spent $6 million to buy property for a new county health department site.
In late March 2022, Canadian County elected officials toured the Rogers County Courthouse near Tulsa as they consider building a new courthouse complex.
In 2014, Rogers County constructed a 100,000-square foot, four-story building. Chairman Anderson previously estimated a similar facility would cost about $30 million today.
Canadian County is the fourth largest – and fastest-growing – county in Oklahoma.
Canadian County’s population increased by 33.6% (115,541 to 154,405) between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Canadian County’s estimated 2023 population is 166,063 with a growth rate of 2.4% in the past year, according to the most recent U.S. Census data.
BIDS AND MORE BIDS
In other business at their Jan. 9th regular meeting, Canadian County Commissioners:
- Opened bids from six vendors for a Britton Road rehabilitation project in District 1. Base bids ranged from $1,142,987 and $3,189,310 and base bids plus alternates (for Jones Road and 234th Street) ranged from $1,769,621 and $4,480,204. The award was postponed so Commissioner Manske may review the bids and make a recommendation.
- Opened bids from three vendors for a new or used generator at the District 2 shop and yard – $184,000, $69,832 and $179.407. Anderson, the District 2 commissioner, will review the proposals before recommending an award.
- Acknowledged designation of Tommy Humphries and Austin Murrey as requisitioning officers and Lauren Ward and Alicia Benson as receiving officers for the Canadian County District Attorney’s Office.
- Approved an annual Legal Services and Federal Funding Administration Services Agreement with the District Attorney’s Office. The DA’s Office charges Canadian County 1.5% to administer the county’s ARPA account.