Work will continue on preserving 1880s Miami County courthouse

Miami County Courthouse in Troy, 2020. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Miami County Courthouse in Troy, 2020. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Weeks after showing off the new Courthouse Plaza in Troy, the Miami County commissioners were turning attention to the next projects involving the 1880s Courthouse.

During 2021 budget discussions, the commissioners heard from Chris Johnson, county facilities and operations director, an outline of needed work on the exterior and then interior of the three-story structure.

The needed work comes as no surprise.

The commissioners earlier this year heard an outline of a building study conducted by Garmann-Miller Architects/Engineers in which projects totaling around $10 million were proposed for the short and longer term. Some projects are of a size and nature the county maintenance staff could do them while larger projects would need to be contracted.

Exterior Courthouse work began this year with a contract for first floor window and door repairs and painting designed to reduce water penetration and extend the life of windows.

Similar work on the second and third floors will be proposed for 2021 and 2022 at a cost of more than $20,000 each year. This work is expected to delay a much more expensive window replacement project possibly by a decade, Johnson said.

The next big project, expected to be done in 2021, is stonework on the Courthouse exterior.

“The (stone) patching is popping off,” Johnson said, noting that work would need to be competitively bid and would probably begin in spring. The work would cost at least $200,000, likely more, he said.

“We have people walking by on the new plaza, and stone is falling off,” he said.

Inside the building, numerous projects were identified including flooring work, plaster and painting, ornate/detailed painting throughout and other similar work with an estimated cost of nearly $1.7 million. Seating in the large third floor courtroom needs replaced with replacement pieces for existing seating no longer available.

Other work included on the facilities capital project plan are upgrading the fire alarm system including new notification devices at more than $500,000; replacing third floor HVAC system, $330,000; replacing electrical equipment, adding surge protection and correcting code deficiencies, $240,000; and upgrading interior LED lighting and controls, $381,000.

Commission President Jack Evans said the county has money in reserves and should put some of it toward these projects to maintain the historic structure.

“It is no different than fixing your house at home,” said Commissioner Ted Mercer.

The commissioners wrapped up the Courthouse Plaza project Nov. 17, approving the final change order for the second phase of the work that included new concrete and brick, a new fountain, new lighting, landscaping and other features. The first phase included demolition of the old plaza and work around the foundation of the Courthouse including filling in several underground tunnels used in early heating and cooling and later as conduits for utilities.

The two-phase plaza project cost $3.6 million and was paid for using county reserves.

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