Courthouse repairs continue

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WAYNESBURG – Work continues on repairs to the large wood timbers between the ceiling and roof of the original section of the Greene County Courthouse that were found to be separating at the joints above Judge William Nalitz’s courtroom early last year.


On Wednesday, a crane was brought in to lift steel beams and lower them into a boxed hole on the courthouse roof that had at one time contained a fan.


The steel beams, which will be used to brace the wood beams, will be assembled in the attic of the building before being placed. Fabricating the structures inside the attic will save the county the time and expense of having to cut a larger hole in the roof to make the repairs, county Chief Clerk Jeff Marshall said.


The problem with the wood timbers, which are believed to be part of the building’s original 1850 construction, was discovered when jurors in Nalitz’s courtroom, courtroom No. 1, noticed movement in the ceiling above Nalitz’s bench.


Emergency repairs were made and plans developed to repair the beams permanently.


In September, the county commissioners awarded a contract to make the repairs to Allegheny Restoration of Morgantown, W.Va., in the amount of $394,566.


A contract also was awarded to KMAC Inc., of Pittsburgh for $96,800 to update the sprinkler system. The existing system had leaked several times in the last 10 years, after water in the sprinkler lines froze and broke the pipes or fittings.


One major leak in January 2009 had resulted in extensive damage to the courtroom and offices below it.


The existing sprinkler system will be replaced with a dry-pipe system that only fills with water when heat activates the system, Marshall said.


A third contract also was awarded at the time to make needed updates to the courthouse heating and air conditioning system. That contract went to Mountain Air Sheet Metal of Cross Lanes, W.Va., for $51,800.


Work on the project began in October and has proceeded fairly smoothly, Marshall said. Only two minor change orders have had to be approved, the total not exceeding $1,500.


The project is slightly behind schedule because of last week’s harsh winter weather, Marshall said. It is expected to be completed at the end of February or the beginning of March, he said.


During the work, Courtroom No. 1 has not been used. A temporary courtroom has been established in the law library on the third floor of the newer addition. Nalitz’s chambers also have been moved to a room on the third floor.


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