Next step for Miami County courthouse includes interior work

TROY – After focusing on exterior improvements at the 1880s Miami County Courthouse in downtown Troy, including a $3.5 million plaza project, the county next will turn attention to the structure’s inside.

The interior work likely will be spread out over time and become part of some form of yearly improvement to the structure, Commissioner Ted Mercer said as commissioners talked briefly about 2022 budget planning.

“Whether we start on the ground floor and work our way up or start on the third floor and work our way down, we are going to have to plug some money into that,” he said.

The building, commissioners have said, is worth the investment. “When we give people tours of the second and third floors, they are like ‘Wow,’” Mercer said noting many people say they have never been above the first floor. “We all agreed we need to take care of it.”

The second and third floors have ornate features and painting and a tile floor whose pattern was reflected in the design of the Courthouse Plaza.

“The courthouse is the most iconic structure in the county, and it has been with us for over 135 years; as such, it will always need care and attention,” said Commissioner Wade Westfall, who joined the commission again in January after serving 198-1993

“While serving on the County Commission 30 years ago, there were discussions on the exterior renovation of the building which culminated in the restoration of the courthouse domes; now, it’s time to work on the exterior stone work of the building,” Westfall said. “It’s an honor to play a part of the legacy in a building that will serve the community for generations to come.”

More exterior work is about to begin on the building with a stone repair project scheduled to begin this summer. That work will be done by Brian Brothers of Piqua for $392,500. A small portion of that contract will be to repair some interior plaster along with cleaning, repairing and tuck point work in the attic.

Last fall, Outdoor Enterprises completed the second phase of the Courthouse Plaza renovation project for $2,904,940 to include the new plaza, new fountain, new lighting and other features. The first phase was done by E. Lee Construction Inc. of Delphos which did plaza demolition and Courthouse water proofing work for $601,290. The total plaza project was just over $3.5 million.

Previous projects over the years included the Courthouse dome and corner domes along with restoration of the statues that on the roof.

Money for Courthouse maintenance, depending on the complexity, has been in the commissioners’ capital improvement budget.

Among other projects outlined in a fall 2020 listing of maintenance projects and preventive maintenance a third floor HVAC system replacement; flooring; painting; ceiling, ornate/detailed painting; and electrical and lighting upgrade needs.

Other needs discussed have included new seating in the large historic courtroom on the third floor. Some wooden seating no longer can be used because parts to repair no longer are available. Another project that was on the list was expedited by the January 2020 tornado that struck downtown Troy. The stained glass in the third-floor courtroom ceiling shifted in its frame due to air pressure. The county went ahead and paid to have the glass panels removed, restored and then repositioned in the frame.

Changes now are being made to offices on the first floor including the Board of Elections, where upgrades are being made, and the update of the former Ohio State University Extension Office space that will become home to the Human Resources Department.

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