Proposed Cerro Gordo County Courthouse front entry security improvements unveiled

MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors on Friday discussed proposed security improvements to the front entrance of the courthouse.

County Administrative Officer Tom Meyer says the proposed new entry would have four double doors, with two doors leading inside and two others leading outside.  “There will be two sets of doors that enter, two sets that exit. There will be a distinct entry and exit. The vestibule between the entry and exit, there will be a barrier railing so people can’t just cut through to the other side. There will also be a railing after you enter the second set of doors between the doors and the metal scanners set up, the metal detector.  The doors will be 72-inches wide so they meet ADA requirements. The entry will both open into the building, the exit will both open toward the outside.”

Meyer says other improvements such as installing bullet-resistant  glass would be made.  “The interior doors would be glazed with bullet-resistant glass, and also the large window by the Recorder’s office would be glazed due to its location.  The deputy station would have a button where they could lock down the interior doors if they see something outside or if we had an incident of a shooting outside the building, we would just lock down until law enforcement gets things situation, so we can lock down those doors immediately.”

Meyer says a metal detector would be installed once the front entrance is completed.  “This is the same technology they use like if you go to the Iowa State Fair. You get to walk in with your keys, phone, wallet, it doesn’t go off.  We could set it to that if we ever needed to. Basically I think talking to you guys, we wanted something that flowed better that wasn’t going off every time somebody entered the building. This would basically detect knives, guns, anything that you could carry on you, an incendiary device.”

The cost of the front entry project is estimated between $125,000-140,000. The supervisors directed Meyer to start the bid process on the front entry project, with the country using its allotment of federal pandemic relief funds to pay for the project.

Meyer says if the supervisors move forward with the front entrance improvements, he’d like to see them completed by this spring.