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Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham Kicks off Courthouse Renovation and Expansion Project
Scaled-back Courthouse project now underway, still on track for completion in early 2010

(Allentown, PA): After years of crunching numbers from behind desks in an effort to trim the cost of renovation of the Lehigh County Courthouse, County Executive Don Cunningham and other county officials took matters into their own hands on Monday morning.  Armed with sledgehammers, the group of county officials, led by Cunningham, actually began to demolish the Courthouse at a “wallbreaking” ceremony held on the second floor of the Lehigh County Courthouse. 

“Contracts for demolition, concrete, structural steel and elevators have all been bid,” Cunningham announced.  “We are pleased with the cost of the bids returned to us, but even more by the fact that all of the work bid so far will probably go to Pennsylvania-based businesses, many based in the Lehigh Valley.” 

Under the previous plan the total project was expected to exceed $80 million, but the Cunningham Administration scaled back plans, reducing project estimates to the $60 million dollar range, not including contingencies or escalations.  Including the cost of interest, total savings to Lehigh County’s taxpayers will be in the range of $35 million.

The original plan to renovate and expand the Lehigh County Courthouse would have cost Lehigh County taxpayers more than $80 million and created an 8-story addition that included three new elevators, 17-foot ceilings in courtrooms, four new private bathrooms, and upscale custom finishes for the building’s exterior, woodwork, lighting fixtures and doorknobs.

The Cunningham Administration’s plan dramatically cut back on amenities that are not necessary to the core government functions of the courthouse, saving $35 million in the process.   

The next round of bids for the Lehigh County Courthouse projects is scheduled for late November, 2007.
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