Mission Accomplished: Six-Year Renovation of County Courthouse Complete
By Csaba Sukosd | November 20, 2018
After six years of time and $16 million in renovations, the Logan County Courthouse is back open for business.
The 148-year-old building re-opened on Monday after being vacated in June 2012 when a derecho - a line of windstorms that registered 80 mph - damaged the structure.
"It was done right. It was done with the thought of the future in mind, and it is something special that we're going to treasure for many, many years," said Logan County Commissioner Dustin Wickersham.
During the storm, the 58-ton clock tower atop the courthouse lifted and shifted off the base as much as 8 inches. After engineers assessed the damage, they discovered the roof was crumbling from the wear of the original wood. According to Wickersham, the timing of the derecho was "a blessing in disguise."
A rededication ceremony was held last Thursday to inform residents and courthouse staff about the project's many particulars as to what happened to the building and courthouse operations and all the evolutions during the six-year period. Afterward, the building was unveiled as part of an open house for people to see the renovated interior before furniture and office items were relocated from the Carnegie Building. A renovated public library, the Carnegie Building operated as the temporary home of the court since 2013.
"It's amazing: the woodwork, the walls. The old courthouse, I had been in it a while ago and it needed updating. It just looked older and this is fresh," said deputy clerk Tarra Meyer.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Patrick Fischer was joined the rededication ceremonies as a guest speaker. While the courthouse is located in downtown Bellefontaine, Justice Fischer explained how the judicial branch itself is central to our society.
"The courthouses bring together in one place the people, in this case, the citizens of Logan County, Ohio, bring together the people every day who are seeking justice," he said.
Along with modern updates - a new central boiler system for heating and cooling, handicap accessibility on all three floors, digital security upgrades -- planners wanted to preserve as much of the building's identity as possible.
"You're going to see a resemblance of what the folks in 1870 gave to us," said Wickersham.
Among the restorations meant to resemble the building's original state was the ornate plasterwork above the main courtroom and large windows allowing for more natural light.