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Scott County courthouse work progressing

Wes Bunch • Oct 6, 2012 at 8:04 AM

GATE CITY — Scott County Courthouse employees and visitors can expect some minor inconveniences for the next month or two as construction crews complete renovation work on the nearly 200-year-old building.

Scott County Administrator Kathie Noe said she believes the $194,000 project has been making good progress since work got under way nearly two weeks ago.

Although the construction is limited to the building’s roof, parapet and bell tower, Noe said those using the building would notice some side effects of the work.

“It’s moving along pretty good, actually,” Noe said. “Everybody has to use the accessible ramp to get in the courthouse — you can’t use the front steps — and some people who are used to parking in the back of the building have to find another place to park, those sorts of things. There’s also some noise, but we haven’t heard of anything unbearable.”

The courthouse’s accessibility ramp is currently fenced and covered to protect those entering the courthouse from falling debris, while the rear parking area is being used as a staging area for the project contractor.

Noe said the project’s contract stipulated that Lebanon-based Branson Construction could take up to 160 days to complete the work, although it could be finished sooner if the renovation goes according to plan.

So far, Noe said there have been no major delays or setbacks, although crews did find one area of the parapet that had more structural damage than originally anticipated.

“On one end of the parapet, in the corner, a beam and a brace near the wall has some rotted wood, and they’ll have to repair that,” Noe said. “It’ll take a little bit of labor time, but it’s not a major expense. ... That’s the only thing we’ve found so far that wasn’t expected.”

Noe said the rehabilitation work was needed to ensure the structural soundness of the courthouse, which has been in continuous use since it was built in 1829.

“The bell tower was in pretty bad shape as far as leaks and that sort of things,” Noe said. “We’ve had some patches on it to hold it until now, so it’s really time to work on that.”

The repairs are needed to return the outside of building as close to its original condition as possible, Noe said.

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