Bids for improvements to the J.A. Dempwolf-designed historic courthouse in downtown York came in lower than expected, and county taxpayers can thank what's apparently a buyer's market in the waterproofing industry.

The project was expected to cost about $200,000, but the two bids for caulking and other measures totaled $114,000, said county facilities director Scott Cassel. Commissioners approved the project at a Wednesday meeting.

There's a contingency fund of about $11,000, and the complete project will cost less than $150,000 when engineering fees are added, he said.

Bids were awarded to Jones Masonry in Harrisburg, for $93,900 in caulking and masonry work, and H&H General Excavating of Spring Grove, for $18,446 in trench-digging and downspout relocation, Cassel said.

The measures are expected to stop leaks in three of four corners of the basement in the building at 28 E. Market St., which was built in 1898 and was rehabilitated and converted into county administrative offices after the York County Judicial Center was built.

The $18 million renovation was completed in 2006 and included about $1 million to repair and restore the main dome and cupolas that distinguish the building from afar, but little else was done to the exterior because it was in good condition at the time, Cassel said.

Water has been entering during hard and prolonged rains, soaking parts of the county's elections and information services departments, he said. The leaks became pronounced during Tropical Storm Lee a couple of years ago and have gradually become worse, Cassel said.


He said the work should be completed by September, which is hurricane season, "So we'll be all sealed up and won't float away," he said.

The waterproofing should keep the building impervious to leaks for about 10 or 15 years, he said.

— Reach Christina Kauffman at