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Lake County scraps Government Center escalators

Updated: April 23, 2013 2:21PM



CROWN POINT — The aging escalators at the Lake County Government Center were shut off for good Wednesday as work begins in earnest to replace them with stairs and elevators.

“We’ve done this for two reasons — energy efficiency and safety,” said Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point. It will take about three months for the new stairwell and elevator to be completed.

Along with costing a great deal to operate, he said, the escalators were plagued with breakdowns and prone to stopping without warning, creating a liability issue for the cash-strapped county.

All Government Center offices will remain open during construction. Most work will be done at night to minimize disruption. Signs will direct visitors to alternate stairways and elevators. Some meetings, including the Board of Commissioners, will be relocated to the auditorium during construction. The Board of Elections will meet in the cafeteria. Officials advise checking with individual boards prior to their meetings for exact locations.

The work is Phase III of a multiyear energy efficiency project that began in 2006.

Jeff Metcalf, regional director Ameresco Inc., the energy services company awarded the work, said previously the $10.6 million Phase III is expected to save $1.7 million a year in operational costs.



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