MARINETTE — The removal of steel from the second floor of  the former Marinette County Law Enforcement Center on Ella Court Street could begin next week if the weather cooperates, Facilities Director Marty Keyport told the county board’s Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday.

The county board on Jan. 29 voted to enter into an agreement with Henry Malke and Son of Peshtigo and A&P of WI of Sobieski to demolish the steel detention equipment from the second floor of the building that was formerly the county jail, at a cost of $24,675.

“The 30-day clock has started ticking for the contractor,” Keyport told the committee. “They have 30 days to begin the work.

“They’ve arranged with me to bring some materials into there, some carts and dollies and other things to help the process move along. Some tools and equipment are up there in the space right now.”

The former LEC has been mostly empty since a new facility was built on University Drive about 15 years ago and the county has $360,000 in its 2019 budget for the removal of the steel and replacement of the roof and HVAC system.

“The cold weather has obviously affected a lot of people’s schedules, but with a little bit of luck, there will be demolition going on up there next week, probably by the middle of the week,” Keyport said. “I’ll be monitoring that very closely as to the progress. They assume they’ll in there three to four weeks and be done.”

County Administrator John Lefebvre and Keyport have said removing the metal from the former jail areas will help them envision how much space will be available for remodeling of the building to make it usable again. Keyport said that after the demolition and removal of the steel is completed, he will have some pictures to show the committee “so we can get a little better glimpse of what we’re looking at.”

Lefebvre said at last month’s county board meeting that after the steel demolition and removal is completed, the plan is to look for an architect to start drawing some plans to determine how much it would cost to relocate current county offices to the building, including those that are presently housed in properties being leased by the county and the Child Support Agency, which he said needs more space than it has in the courthouse.