DuPage looking to improve air quality in county buildings

  • DuPage County plans to spend an estimated $6 million to $6.75 million to improve the heating and cooling system at the courthouse in Wheaton. Another project will add a traffic courtroom.

    DuPage County plans to spend an estimated $6 million to $6.75 million to improve the heating and cooling system at the courthouse in Wheaton. Another project will add a traffic courtroom. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 5/27/2020 6:37 PM

DuPage County plans to spend millions of dollars in federal money to improve the air quality inside several buildings at its government campus in Wheaton.

Officials this week unveiled a plan to complete eight capital projects by the end of the year as part of DuPage's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The estimated $16.8 million to $20.5 million cost for the projects would come from money the county received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The list of projects includes improving the heating and cooling systems at the jail, courthouse, and coroner's office. The upgraded systems will help protect people from harmful viruses by filtering and disinfecting the indoor air, officials said.

Nick Kottmeyer, the county's chief administrative officer, said officials are especially concerned about the courthouse because it has more than 1 million visitors per year.

"We want to make sure that we put everything in place we can for that building," Kottmeyer said.

Improving the courthouse heating and cooling system is the biggest project in the plan. It's estimated to cost $6 million to $6.75 million.

A second courthouse project calls for construction of another traffic courtroom on the first floor. The new courtroom is needed because Addison notified the county this month that it's unable to open a field court at village hall because of COVID-19 concerns.

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The new courtroom will be designed to allow for social distancing. It's expected to cost $600,000 to $900,000 to build.

Two other capital projects are planned to reduce the spread of communicable and infectious diseases at the jail.

One will improve the heating and cooling system in the main jail population building. The other project will create dedicated spaces that can be used to medically isolate inmates with COVID-19 and other viruses.

Meanwhile, another project will add more isolation rooms to the DuPage Care Center, which is a nursing facility.

In addition to building improvements, DuPage County plans to spend $3.8 million to $4 million to install remote monitoring control systems at wastewater treatment plants, drinking water facilities and stormwater control facilities. The county also plans to spend $1 million to $1.5 million to upgrade its online permitting system so people can remotely submit permit applications and avoid in-person contact.

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