VALPARAISO — A major renovation project at the downtown Porter County Courthouse is about halfway complete and has been free of any major problems so far, according to Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North.

The work is part of a wider $30 million effort to improve several county-owned buildings and repair three of the county's worst bridges.

"Everything's going as planned," Biggs said.

The work has aimed, in part, at addressing a long-standing problem of water being wicked up by the stone building, which has caused problems in the interior of the structure, he said.

The project has included work on the exterior of the building and repairs on inside walls. The windows at the building will also be replaced, Biggs said.

Restrooms and lobbies inside the courthouse are also being remodeled.

Perhaps the most noticeable change for the public is the addition of a fenced-in parking area on the east side of the building for judges and the prosecutor, Biggs said.

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The north side of the property is also being updated, and, in conjunction with the city of Valparaiso, parking spots will be created along that stretch of Lincolnway.

Porter County Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South, said the work is on schedule.

"We are looking forward to getting the new windows placed in the spring and opening the new, more safe parking area for the judges," she said.

Biggs said he and other county officials are aware of the hardship the construction work has posed in the downtown area, including the temporary elimination of some parking.

The ongoing work is part of a wider improvement project being carried out by county government that takes in the nearby county administration center, the Expo Center and the north county government complex in Portage.

The Portage work includes an extensive renovation of the existing county building and the construction of a new building on site in cooperation with the Portage Township trustee's office.

A new 12,000-square-foot building will house Portage Township offices, the Portage Township Food Pantry and Porter County government offices not associated with criminal justice.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.