Is there ever a good time to light in and make renovations and repairs to long-existing problems? Probably not, but to the Scioto County Commissioners facing a state budget that will most likely result in big cuts, maybe now is just the time.
Scioto County Commissioners Chairman Bryan Davis says it will be a little disorganized in some segments of the Scioto County Courthouse for a while, but it is what happens when you start making overdue repairs and upgrades.
The work began with repairs and upgrades to the Law Library facility at a cost of $7,900.
“We had a situation where the ceiling was bowed significantly where the plaster had come disconnected from the mortar and it was sunk down a good 3-4 inches in the middle,” Davis said. “At the end of that there fixture and the fear was that that was going to collapse and right underneath it was the technology center for the Law Library – all the computers, and a lot of lawyers would sit in that area and look up information.”
Davis said crews fixed those problems, which had existed for years to the degree that three junction boxes were added above the light fixtures. In other words, that work had not been done properly.
“Instead of fixing the ceiling they just added junction boxes to compensate for the dip,” Davis said. “Who did that? We don’t know, but it had been like that for years.”
Now they have dropped all the old plaster and replaced it to the point that it looks like it did when it was first built.
“The original fixtures were saved, cleaned and put back up,” Davis said. “Disaster averted. We’re working on quotes to fix the remainder of the Law Library. There’s a lot of plaster work that needs to be done.”
Davis said the idea is to get National Historical Landmark grants to try to fix the remainder.
“The Law Library is a treasure to the community,” Davis said.
The second issue they are dealing with at the courthouse is the restrooms, which have not been updated in 40 years.
“The fixtures, the plumbing, the paint, the marble, everything in the restrooms are just nasty – worn out. It doesn’t give a very good face to the public,” Davis said.
They are starting with the men’s restroom on the first floor, which is now gutted and awaiting the renovations.
“All of that will be replaced,” Davis said. “New stalls, new fixtures, sinks, toilets, everything. The handicapped stall will be an official ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) stall.”
Davis said a contractor is doing the work but some of the work, such as stripping the walls, is being done in-house by county workers and even some probationers. When the men’s room is done, and work begins on the women’s restroom, the men’s room will be converted to the women’s room while the work is being done. The cost for both restrooms is $10,000 for the first floor.
“The second floor restrooms aren’t as bad,” Davis said. “We ultimately want to do the second and third floor restrooms.”
Next is the Jury Deliberation Room, which is to be on the second floor. Currently jurors have to walk past the public including people involved in the case to the fourth floor. With the new deliberation room next to the courtroom, it will be safer and more efficient, and new restrooms and a kitchenette will be built as well.
“It should be done in the next 30-45 days,” Davis said.
The cost is approximately $27,000.
“We thought we need to get these projects in if we can because after the budget goes through, it’s going to be really tough,” Davis said. “If our budget is cut like we think it’s going to be cut, these little projects are not going to be able to be done in the forseeable future.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.