Visitors to the renovated Linn County Courthouse will have plenty of places to sit.
County supervisors approved a proposal from Cedar Rapids artist John Schwartzkopf for 22 interior benches for the courthouse, undergoing an $8.5 million renovation.
The $68,000 purchase is made under a policy adopted by supervisors in spring 2010 to spend up to 1 percent of a capital project’s budget on public art.
About 10 feet long, Schwartzkopf’s benches will be made from locally cut cherry trees, their design inspired by the courthouse’s exterior columns and the arches on bridges that connect Mays Island to both banks of the Cedar River.
The benches will be placed where they’re most convenient for courthouse visitors.
“He spent time just sitting over there, watching looking at the traffic patterns to see what they wanted,” Supervisor Lu Barron, D-Cedar Rapids, said.
In his project proposal Schwartzkopf wrote the benches should be placed to take advantage of the light and open space of the courthouse atrium.
Supervisors also discussed a proposal to extend the renovation project to remodel offices on the courthouse’s fourth and fifth floors and the court clerks’s offices on the east end of the second floor. The additional work will add $674,957 to the project cost, constructions services manager Garth Fagerbakke told supervisors.
The new work would be paid for with $425,268 from a federal grant covering the cost of replacing the downtown steam-heat system lost in the June 2008 flood, $68,134 from the county’s capital improvement budget, and $181,556 surplus from the construction of the new Options/Community Services building.
Supervisors will vote on the additional work next week.