WILMINGTON — The Clinton County courthouse, built from 1916 to 1919, will receive repairs and renovations in the coming months as Perfection Group begins its work.
Those repairs are sorely needed, according to Mary Ann Foland, county administrator. Foland’s duties include overseeing maintenance and housekeeping staff and managing risk.
“Your best plan is to do the proper upkeep … (and) stop the continuing damage,” she said. Otherwise, “it’ll happen again.”
Foland said water penetrates the courthouse through the roof, causing deterioration, such as damaged roof tiles and friezes, inside the building.
Decorative stone pillars, less than two feet tall, are becoming hazardous as they come loose from the rooftop’s stone barriers that they adorn. Maintenance workers have had to remove those pillars to prevent them from falling.
Grime and bird droppings also adorn the roof and walls of the courthouse. Parts of the exterior masonry are black from grime.
Inches of mortar are missing and sections of the masonry are cracked or damaged severely enough that it can be removed by hand.
Foland said it is important to protect the “envelope” of the building. Recently, she said, patches were done to the roof, but nothing major.
“This renovation is a commitment to, essentially, button it up to preserve it,” Foland said in a written statement. “We have a responsibility to stop the leaks in the dome and roof. Nothing damages a building more quickly than water penetration. The windows are so loose that, in some rooms, if it is windy, you can get wet if you stand by the (closed) window.”
Foland believes the work done by Perfection Group will create a stark before-and-after contrast.
“This building really belongs to our community, and the work being done will preserve this for years to come,” she wrote.
As reported, the Clinton County commissioners have already paid one quarter of the $5.2 million Perfection Group quoted the county for renovations to the courthouse, Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office and the Clinton County Veterans’ Service Commission’s office.
The commissioners have appointed a group of county officials to explore financing options and whether they would be beneficial to the county as opposed to paying for the renovations with money that could be invested in bonds.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.