Many of the windows on the sides of the building were replaced a couple of decades ago with windows with vinyl panes that altered the intended fenestration. It would be lovely to have these inappropriate windows replaced with something that replicates the windows that were part of the original Warren & Wetmore design, but replacing all the windows in the courthouse seems rash, costly, and unnecessary. Having Lothrop Associates design the new windows is going to cost $36,200; the creation and installation of the new windows is expected to cost between $300,000 and $500,000.
The arguments for replacing windows are the usual ones. The original windows are thought to be not energy efficient, and they're old--more than a hundred years old. Although it has been demonstrated over and over that pre-World War II windows are superior to the replacement windows available today, and, with proper weather stripping, are as energy efficient as replacement windows, the message seems not to have reached the decision makers on the Board of Supervisors. They are convinced that new windows will save money on heating the building, but they have no concrete evidence how much money will be saved if any all. (Advocates for preserving historic windows calculate that, by the time the cost of replacement windows is earned back in energy savings, it's time to replace the windows again.)
Another reason for spending $300,000 to $500,000 on replacement windows is noise. It seems judges have complained about outside sounds while court is in session. The principal source of this disruptive noise is lawn mowers. Hudson supervisor Rick Scalera (Fifth Ward) had a simple, cost effective solution to the noise problem: "Mow the lawn on Saturday."
New windows could push the cost of the courthouse renovation to $9.9 million--an amount that doesn't include the additional rent that would have to be paid to the Hudson City School District if the temporary courthouse must stay in the old Claverack School beyond January 2014. In light of this latest spending decision by the Board of Supervisors, Gossips recommends Sam Pratt's post, "What does Columbia County cost?"