Davison County board approves taking on costs for courthouse elevator upgrades

Marcus Traxler, The Daily Republic, Mitchell, S.D.
·2 min read

Feb. 23—Davison County commissioners learned Tuesday what the cost of upgrading the elevator in its historic courthouse will likely be.

The commission voted to move ahead with a $174,405 proposal from Schumacher Elevator Company, of Denver, Colo., to replace the elevator later this year. A formal contract with the firm has yet to be presented and will need to be approved before any construction takes place. The vote on Tuesday was 4-0, with Commissioner Kim Weitala absent.

The elevator, which serves five floors of the courthouse, has had numerous issues in recent months, including frequently stranding people in it, and a call to the Mitchell Fire Division to help get individuals out.

"It really is our only option," Commissioner Denny Kiner said following the discussion.

Joel Rang, maintenance technician at the courthouse, has frequently dealt with the elevator's issues. Typically, he goes to the building's roof to manually reset the elevator, but he said that has become more difficult in recent weeks.

The estimated price is close to a 2019 quote the county received to replace the elevator of $169,500. Late last year, Davison County Physical Plant Director Mark Ruml has estimated the entire cost of the project will be around $200,000.

The price cited Tuesday doesn't include the installation of an analog phone line, the rental of a crane needed, some electrical work or the costs involved to remodel the cab to put in a new stainless steel door. For example, the rental of a crane will likely cost $2,500 per day to install equipment on the building's roof.

The work has a six-month lead time, so that means the project won't be done any earlier than September. The construction of the project is expected to take 8 to 10 weeks because there is special fabrication that is done to create the parts to fit the elevator.

During construction, the upper floors of the building won't be accessible to the those with disabilities. Rang said he's talked with court staff about moving any potential cases to the Davison County Public Safety Center during that time to allow for accessibility.

The courthouse, dedicated in 1937, had a state-of-the-art elevator included when it opened and it's believed that there are some original parts still in use, including the elevator's cab and some of the gears.