Putnam County Board Discusses Courthouse Repairs

Historic courthouse photograph courtesy of Grala Warren
The Putnam County Board learned Monday that testing services to determine what exterior repairs will be needed at the historic courthouse will cost an approximate $21,580. The courthouse is the oldest functional one in the state.

Putnam County Sheriff Kevin Doyle said Basalay, Cary and Alstadt, an architect firm from Ottawa, examined the courthouse, which was built in 1839, and the addition that was later constructed.

Finding people qualified to do tuck pointing at the courthouse is imperative because using the wrong materials for tuck pointing in older buildings can cause further problems down the road.

“Today's mortar is much stronger than the brick is,” Doyle said. “You'll use a different type mortar to do the tuck pointing.”

When the mortar doesn't allow for contraction and expansion, cracking and face damage occurs.

The $21,580 covers only the testing, which involves limestone analysis, mortar analysis and a Rilem tube test which shows the rate of moisture penetration.

Board member William Holmes said the courthouse is a nice old building, but it is starting to cost a lot of money to maintain. Though he stopped short of saying he wanted to pursue a new building, he did draw this analogy: “Do you want a brand new Chevy or do you want to drive a Model A?”

Modern-day courthouse

In other news:

  • New probation officer Nicole Tonioni was introduced to the board.
  • The board set a special meeting for 9 a.m. July 22 at the courthouse for the purpose of reviewing bids for work on the new emergency management building.

Source: News Tribune