The Scioto County Courthouse was constructed in 1927 and continues to be a landmark in the community.
The Scioto County Commissioners will soon be submitting plans to the state, requesting $3.5 million dollars for restoration of certain parts of the building.
If granted the commissioners request would fund a restoration of the fourth floor along with other restoration work on the third floor of the courthouse.
On Friday, state Senator Joe Eucker toured the areas of the courthouse the commissioners are targeting for restoration work.
The state is currently seeking projects from around the state to allocate capital improvement funds toward.
Since the remains of the former Scioto County Jail were removed from the fourth floor of the courthouse, the space has been overrun with boxes.
Various offices have taken boxes of records to the fourth floor for storage.
“We have an issue with boxes. There is getting to be so many boxes up there and you can’t just pitch those,” said Mike Crabtree, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners.
Crabtree said there are a number of county offices that have boxes being stored on the fourth floor.
He said the boxes on the third floor are important and have to be preserved.
Crabtree said the commissioners have developed a plan to address the storage issues.
“We’ve got the building next to the annex that’s pretty much gone (beyond repair). Our thoughts are, if we can get that taken down over the winter, we’ve got access to some money that we can use to put in a nice metal building in there, a storage facility,” Crabtree said.
He said once constructed the building will be temperature controlled, to help preserve the boxes of paper stored there.
“We’ve got to figure out a way we can preserve those records and do it long-term,” Crabtree said. “There are only so many storage buildings you could build.”
He said the cost estimate of the storage facility is between $120,000 and $150,000.
“We want to get the records and stuff moved and if we have access to the (state capital) money, then maybe we can look at letting a contract for the fourth floor,” Crabtree said.
Once the fourth floor is restored, Crabtree said there should be no issues with finding someone to fill that space.
The request for funds from the state includes a project description, which states, “The fourth floor rehabilitation project area is currently not being used due to damage by the previous county jail and dilapidated roof (a new roof has been installed). Since the courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, we believe the integrity of the courthouse is being jeopardized if it is not rehabilitated,” Work to be completed includes construction of a Municipal Judge’s Suite, Municipal Clerk’s Office, City Prosecutor’s Suite, City Probation office, new public restrooms, new elevator, new skylights, windows and plaster repairs.”
If funds are awarded to the project, the commissioners are also planning restoration work on the law library, located on the third floor of the courthouse.
The damage from the faulty roof was so extensive, it began showing up on other floors of the courthouse. Courthouse maintenance workers have been doing their best to manage the damage to the law library, but more work needs to be done to preserve and prevent further damage, officials said.
The request for funds from the state includes a project description, which states, “The third floor project area includes that Law Library ceiling and several hallway ceilings that are currently crumbling. This causes a safety concern for the county citizens using the space. Work to be completed includes removal of all damaged and decayed plaster, install new diamond wire substrate, and install new plaster finish and paint repaired areas.”
During the tour of the proposed project area, Eucker said he thought the project was promising.
The request further state, In 2009 Scioto County was put under fiscal emergency by the state of Ohio. With smart spending and budgeting decisions, the county came out of fiscal emergency in 2014.
Due to being in fiscal emergency, the county must have five year projections with their budget and abide it.
At this time the county is unable to put funds into a project of this magnitude, but due to the damage the rehabilitation needs to be complete as soon as possible, officials said.
The commissioners are hopeful to schedule state representative Terry Johnson for a tour and visit of the proposed project areas.
Once the application for funding is received by the state it will be considers by state legislators for funding. The commissioners anticipate hearing if the project was funded or not in the first part of next year.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT