Friday, September 23rd, 2011
By Amy Kronenberger
Courthouse redo continues on schedule
Artistic touches, woodwork uncovered during $7.3M renovation
  WAPAKONETA - Auglaize County Commissioners are picking out curtains and other finishing touches as the courthouse construction project continues on schedule.
Architect Bruce Miller of Garmann-Miller & Associates in Minster met with commissioners Thursday to discuss millwork, which deals with doors, windows, woodwork, trim and the judges' benches. The budget for the work is $170,000.
Miller showed commissioners a picture of deep red velvet drapes for the three courtrooms. The fire-rated curtains from Scenic Solutions in West Carrollton cost $29,330.
"They really help with acoustics," Miller said.
Commissioners agreed to wait to purchase the drapes - with funds in the millwork budget - until final millwork numbers come in.
The group then went on a tour of the courthouse, making a stop at the municipal courtroom where paint restorers found a 20-foot-long floral design that circled the perimeter of what was an assembly room years ago. The design was found while stripping paint around the crown molding of the tin ceiling.
Paint restorers from Brian Brothers Painting and Restoration, Piqua, are now working to fully restore the original design. The former assembly room was split into a law library and municipal courtroom years ago and now is being converted into just the courtroom.
Another great discovery came while workers were stripping paint off the exterior doors of the courthouse.
"Once they got all the layers of paint off, they called the office and said 'I don't think you want to stain this; it's walnut,' " Miller said. "So I told them to just put a clear coat on it."
Miller said he believes all the woodwork in the courthouse is walnut, so he will begin pricing it for any woodwork that needs replaced.
The exterior doors on each side of the courthouse will all be restored but will no longer function as main entrances. For security purposes, the 117-year-old building will have only two entrances into the basement on the east side. One entrance will be for the public, the other for prisoners going to court, Miller said.
The four entrances on the main level will remain locked as emergency exits. The new public entrance into the basement will have a metal detector with a deputy screening everyone who enters.
In the common pleas courtroom, the new jury box will have a hideaway television. Controlled by the judge, the television will rise from the front section of the jury box in 13 seconds when an attorney wants to show video or picture evidence in a trial. Other monitors will be placed in the courtroom for public viewing.
Also ongoing is construction of the new third and fourth floors, which used to be open attic space. When completed, the prosecutor's office will be on the third floor and the law library on the fourth floor.
The $7.3 million renovation project is on schedule to be completed in late spring.
"I'm glad to see things coming together," Miller said. "Now that the demolition stage is done, and we're putting things back together, it's very exciting."
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