La Porte County Courthouse open with reduced heat

La Porte County Courthouse open with reduced heat, // WSBT 22

People at the La Porte County Courthouse are dealing with heating issues inside the historic building.

Workers are repairing the heating system Wednesday.

It's pretty chilly inside. Wednesday the heating inside the courthouse is only operating at about 50-percent of what it should be.

Earlier some offices were as cold as the mid 50s. Crews have done things to bring the temperature up into the mid 60s.

Some employees WSBT 22 spoke to say it's bearable, others are bundling up until the problem is fixed.

Back in 2015, a new energy efficient heating and cooling system was put in the courthouses in La Porte.

Officials say that system is not designed to handle wind chills this cold.

"As you know this weekend we had a minus 33 and the heating units burnt up. It couldn't keep up with heating that big building," said Richard Mrozinski, LaPorte County commission president.

The courthouse is open for business and small electric heaters have been brought in to help keep offices warm.

"The problem with that is when you get 35 to 40 electric heaters drawing a lot of amperage and start turning them all on, they start popping breakers, because the electrical system can't handle that extra load," said Mrozinski.

Staff are asked to run the heaters at half power to help.

The heating system is under a warranty, which means the maintenance crew can't work on it. They are at the mercy of the company that provided the equipment.

"I was no longer on the council and I was not yet elected as commissioner. I don't know, maybe they saved money by buying that unit. I really don't know why that was selected. In retrospect, it was a big mistake," said Mronzinski.

Mrozinski said this is not the first time an issue like this has happened in La Porte County.

The water heater inside the jail of the county complex has malfunctioned in the past.

He says those are the kind of problems you face with older buildings.

In the meantime, they will be looking into changing the heating system in the future.

"Make sure we put in equipment that can handle it, because this is northern Indiana. Expect bad weather in the winter time. We were spoiled last two winters. They weren't really very bad," said Mrozinski.

Officials say a couple of compressors are completely burned up in the heating system.

Those have to be special ordered.

When the equipment arrives crews will have to shut down the entire system to make repairs.

They hope to get that done on or before January 15.

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