Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Repairs to county courthouse scheduled to begin in March


County Commissioner of Pct. 3, Ryan Basham, recently spoke to members of the Coryell County Historical Commission about the upcoming repairs on the Coryell County Courthouse due to the leaks the structure has been facing.

The four red domes located on each corner of the building are leaking and causing damage in the attic and to the offices below.

“The project of repairing the domes should start in the next two to three weeks and will cost $48,500 to do just one dome. I have spoken with the project reviewer for the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program at the Texas Historical Commission in Austin, Dan Valenquela, and he said there is some funding out there, and that it’s reimbursable. We can spend the money [for repairs], and they can reimburse us.”

According to Basham, the county agreed to use a quote from Ace Roofing in Austin to begin work on the northwest dome of the courthouse.

“When I talked with Mr. Valenquela, we’re not the only courthouse in the State of Texas that has asked for money for their courthouse as well, but he thought he could find somebody to work with this dome at this time,” he said.

Basham continued, “On such a not-so-good note, the ladies and justices (statues) situated on the roof of the courthouse, to restore them would cost $435,000. They would take them down and restore them. I’m trying to do some more research to see if there are other people that can do that.” Sherry Lawrence, a member of the Coryell County Historical Commission said, “The first thing we make sure of is that all four domes are not leaking before we spend $435,000 on the statues.”

Basham said that the current concern is not restoring the statues (which can wait) but dealing with the leaks in the attic. “The leaking from the northwest dome, it’s leaking into the attic and in an office below, which is occupied by District Clerk Becky Moore where records have received water damage. This is something we definitely need to address in my opinion. It’s getting worse.”

Starting with the northwest dome which is causing the most trouble, “To repair the dome, they will do it on-sight rather than removing it from the building.”

Danny Corbett, Chairman of the Coryell County Historical Commission, asked, “So what you’re saying is that the county is allocating the $48,500 for the repair?” Basham replied, “It’s coming out of our maintenance, hoping it will be reimbursed in order to do the second one [dome].”

Tiffany Butler, a courthouse steward and also a member of the Coryell County Historical Commission, said, “With the heavier rains coming during the spring, I’m sure we’re going to see more damage if we don’t get something done. When the rain and winds come in, it’s usually from the west or northwest. The leaks go back to the initial building of the courthouse. The commissioner’s minutes going back to 1899 mention that the contractor/builder of the structure, Tom Lovell, told the commissioners that he was giving them $1,000 back because the building was leaking.”

Basham stated, “My goal is that we need to take care of this courthouse that we’re so very proud of. I was born and raised in Coryell County, and I think she’s probably the prettiest courthouse in the State of Texas. We need to take care of it. If there’s an option that we don’t have to use taxpayer’s dollars, that’s the route I’d like to go.”