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$69M U.S. Courthouse modernization a boon for local firms

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More than a dozen local companies have begun work on a three-year modernization of the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in the state's largest individual project funded by the federal stimulus.

Renovations to the stately 4-story Beaux Arts landmark along Ohio Street between Meridian and Pennsylvania streets will cost at least 34 times the $2 million the Treasury Department paid to construct the building between 1902 to 1905.

The improvements, including the installation of a sprinkler system throughout the building, a 30,000-square-foot green roof, a rainwater-reclamation system and an energy-efficient heating and cooling system, are great news for local contractors.

Nineteen of the 23 companies selected to work on the project are based in central Indiana. Between 90 and 150 workers will be on the site at any given time until the project is scheduled for completion in August 2012. Locally based Shiel Sexton Company Inc. is leading the $69.3 million U.S. Courthouse renovation as general contractor.

And local companies are picking up even more stimulus work from at least two other federal building modernization projects. Shiel also is working on another stimulus project to add more than 6,000 solar panels to the Major General Emmett J. Bean Federal Center in Lawrence. That project will cost about $21 million, and a planned second phase could cost another $50 million, said John Andrews, a Shiel partner.

Meantime, Cincinnati-based Messer Construction is leading a more than $40 million project to add fire-suppression systems and energy3efficient features to the Minton-Capehart Federal Building along North Pennsylvania Street.

"It's no secret the construction industry is in a pretty bad situation nationally," Andrews said. "For us, stimulus projects have been a huge deal. It helps us, the subcontractors and all the tradespeople."

The U.S. Courthouse project allowed Indianapolis-based Shrewsberry & Associates LLC to add a full-time employee who had been looking for work for six months, CEO Bill Shrewsberry said.

Shrewsberry figured he might not get much stimulus work since his firm focuses on civil and environmental engineering and stimulus projects had to be shovel-ready and therefore already designed.

"Right now adding any employees or even maintaining headcount is good news," he said.

Other Indianapolis companies working on the U.S. Courthouse project include Environmental Assurance Co., Barth Electric Co. Inc., Blackmore & Buckner Roofing LLC, Gibson-Lewis of Indianapolis LLC, Connor & Co., LaForce Inc., Davis & Associates and McCammack Tile.

Nearby companies include Clayton-based Artisan Construction, Greenfield-based Valor Field Services, Carmel-based Performance Contracting Inc., Camby-based Indy Steel, Fishers-based Terstep Co., Noblesville-based Ryan Fire Protection, and the Greenwood office of International Piping Systems Inc.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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