Brown County Courthouse one step closer to increased security

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HOWARD, Wis. The Brown County Courthouse is one step closer to upping security for all who enter the building. On Monday the county's Planning, Development and Transportation Committee approved a motion to allow safety officials to hire consultants, who will design security features for the courthouse.

The committee agreed to allow the county's Public Works Director, Paul Fontecchio and Brown County Sheriff, Todd Delain to spend up to $10,000 to hire Concord Group consultants in designing an addition to the north side of the courthouse. That addition would be the only entrance where people may enter.

“Visitors that come to the courthouse will come in one door and exit in that same area and all of the other doors are secured and only allowed to be used in case of an emergency such as a fire,” said Delain. “So that way we can control the people that are coming into the courthouse and at that point we're able to screen them.”

Delain says a single point entry way and screening will help to detect and prevent weapons from coming in, adding the courthouse is a place where a number of significant issues are resolved and tensions could be high.

Officials say there are more than a half a dozen entrances to the courthouse. Both Delain and Fontecchio told the committee estimates to add security features would be more accurate if done by experts.

During the meeting, Fontecchio says he can allocate the money needed to hire consultants so they can have a better grasp on how much the project will cost the county. Building additions to the brown county courthouse may be challenging, due to its historic nature.

"It's a historic site,” said Delain. “So any kind of changes to it are going to have to be approved by the historic society and I'm sure that any kind of addition or change is going to have to match what's currently there.”

"This consultant will help, they're very good at estimating especially building additions,” said Fontecchio. They've been working with us on the jail, the medical examiner and now a community treatment center addition. They've got a whole team that's what they do so they're experts at estimating building expansions like this.”

Fontecchio says this proposal will go in front of the County's Public Safety Committee Wednesday, then make its way to the county board later this month. Fontecchio and Delain must present estimates from the consultants by the end of August.