BARSTOW The impending closure of the Barstow courthouse left some residents scratching their heads as to why construction work would now be underway in front of it.

On Wednesday, county officials spoke to dispel any confusion.

San Bernardino County's Architecture & Engineering Department is administering the project to fix cracks in the parking lot, which is expected to be complete at the end of the month, Project Manager Larry Herkelrath said.

Herkelrath said that while the parking lot sits mostly in front of the courthouse, the work is being done to serve visitors to adjacent county buildings. Those buildings include the Sheriff's Department and county services for public health, WIC and building and safety.

The courthouse is expected to close in two months.

"As a result of the agreement reached with the Administrative Office of the Courts," Architecture & Engineering Director Carl Alban wrote in an email, "the lower parking lot is the responsibility of the courts and the upper parking lot is primarily the responsibility of the county."

The county is employing Angeles Contractors, Inc. to complete the upkeep to the upper parking lot, according to Herkelrath, which will earn the Buena Park-based company $182,000 as part of an existing job order contract.

Current construction shouldn't been taken as a precursor to a courthouse sale or repurposing, said Alan Crouse, the county D-CEO for Technology and Facilities.

Shea Johnson may be reached at (760) 256-4126 or at