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For the week of February 27 - March 5, 2002


Search for courthouse annex design begins

Express Staff Writer

Planners for a proposed $2 million expansion of the Old County Courthouse in Hailey will be looking for design excellence, historic integration and function when they consider proposals for architectural design of the project, beginning March 27.

The Blaine County Commission will begin soliciting bids for the design of the project this week when it advertises for proposals in Wood River Valley newspapers, a Boise newspaper and on the Internet.

The commission plans to interview potential architects through the spring and make a final selection early this summer.

Local architectural firms may have an advantage bidding, members of an project planning committee and the commissioners said during a meeting Wednesday of last week.

That’s because a local firm could make administration of the project easier. And, a local firm might have a better understanding of the Wood River Valley’s environment and unique building conditions.

The Old County Courthouse was built in 1883 and is listed on The National Register of Historic Places. So, expanding it might call for an architect with specialized knowledge.

The red and white building has a rural stateliness and a commanding presence in the center of Hailey. But, at 14,400 square feet, it is no longer big enough to hold the county’s expanding government. Many of the county’s 19 departments operate in a hodgepodge of other spaces in Hailey.

The commission is considering building a 19,500-square foot annex that would be either two or three stories tall.

Boise planning consultant CSHQA recommended that the county purchase additional land to the west of the courthouse so that 65 off-street employee parking spaces could be built.

Also, the additional land would allow for expansion after 2011.

With extra land, the annex could eventually double in size and include an elevated parking structure.

The commission has saved money for the project over the last several years by intentionally creating a budget surplus.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.