Maintenance Director Jeff Johnston presented the Pulaski County Commissioners and the Pulaski County Council members with a long list of exterior and interior issues that need to be addressed soon. Johnston covered structural needs including cleaning limestone, realigning dislocated stone, replacing deteriorated stone, repairing defective concrete, and repairing and sealing the north side basement entry. The uneven sidewalks also pose as tripping hazards around the courthouse. The cracks found in the cement stairs and walls around the courthouse can gather water that causes damage during the winter with the action of freezing and thawing.
Interior issues include repainting and re-carpeting the courtroom, fixing mismatched flooring tile, refinishing the wood floors and fixing areas where the wood is separating from the walls.
Johnston said the building is shifting, as noted by a site survey by Atlas Building Services.
“The northern exit and entrance doors to the basement don’t shut and open very easily at all because that is all shifting, sinking and moving,” explained Johnston. “The building is not going to fall over. We don’t have the danger of structural failure. That’s not what I’m saying. We have a chance right now to make sure that that doesn’t happen. It’s already moving, and we see the effects from it.”
Other plans for the courthouse include infrastructure upgrades for technology, a fire suppression system, an alarm system, a phone system, electrical, and efforts to become ADA compliant. One of those efforts will include a new elevator.
While Johnston does not have firm quotes on any of the aspects listed in his report, he has a rough estimate that renovations could cost $450,000-$500,000. The estimate is higher if a single point of entry feature is included at the courthouse along with a new annex building on the site.
No decisions were made as the presentation was for information only. Council President Jay Sullivan said the government officials should act on repairs soon as the courthouse is a historic structure and residents take pride in the building. Grants could be available to help offset some of the cost as the courthouse’s historical status does qualify for funding.