Putnam County courthouse needs repairs

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

GREENCASTLE -- County Planner Kim Hyten brought attention to some repairs and upgrades needed at the Putnam County Courthouse. The county will be addressing these issues in the coming months.

Hyten first reported that the freezing and thawing during the winter is damaging stones on top of the south wall of the structure. He said a small problem arose late last winter when one of the stones fell to the sidewalk below.

While no stones have fallen this winter, Hyten said moisture is still getting behind some of the higher stones.

"That's something we need to look into and address," Hyten said.

These problems can be examined in the spring when Karr Tuckpointing comes to do some other work already scheduled on the courthouse.

Additionally, the height of railings, particularly on the fourth floor, will have to be looked into. The potential need for higher railings came to light in October when an Avon teen on his way to a court date jumped to his death from the third floor of the Hendricks County Courthouse in Danville.

Hyten is especially concerned about the fourth floor, as it houses the Title IV-D program; therefore children are often on the floor. The railing is lower on the fourth floor than the second or third floors. Hyten said he has spoken with an architectural firm that will make a presentation about possible solutions at the Feb. 7 commissioner's meeting.

The courthouse's air handling system is also in need of upgrades. Rusting pipes on each individual office's units have caused clogs that sometimes lead to water leaks on the carpet. When units are blown out after such incidents, the air sometimes causes water to spray out of the units in adjoining offices.

Besides the problems of the individual units aging, Hyten said he would like to see more central control of the heating and air of the courthouse. While each office has the ability to control its heat, there is no way to lower the heat throughout the courthouse for overnight, the weekend or extended days off.

"There should be a way to put that on a maintenance computer where we can set it to raise and lower," Hyten said.

He added that the ability to better control energy usage could lead to big savings for the county.

"I think it would pay for itself, and I think we ought to look toward that," Hyten said.

More broadly, Hyten said the goal is to have three-to-four-year plans for the county's buildings.

"As facilities get older, we need a year-by-year gameplan of what we're going to do," he said. "Things are going to happen at the worst time they can, but we need to have a plan so that we can hopefully avoid it."

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  • The answer is simple, just put off the repairs for a few more years and all the stones will be on the sidewalk. The cost of demolition will be reduced and they can just build a new building that will be more efficient to maintain and operate. Since all the other downtown buildings are literally falling down (Mason Jewelers) the historic value of the old square we loved as children is mostly gone anyway. Walmart has seen to the demise of all downtown businesses, what's left? Ah, the days of Harriet's Paint and Wallpaper, G.C. Murphy, Weber's Toy and Hobby, J.C. Penney, and many more, gives me goosebumps.

    -- Posted by BbridgeJC on Wed, Jan 5, 2011, at 11:55 AM
  • not to mention the actual structure of the courthouse, you know, the parts you can't see...

    -- Posted by indianaresident on Wed, Jan 5, 2011, at 1:15 PM
  • While we're repairing the building, let's repair the system as well.

    -- Posted by Clovertucky on Wed, Jan 5, 2011, at 3:10 PM
  • Just build a new court house. Remodling that old court house could take as much money or more then putting up a new one. BbridgeJC has a point, down town Greencastle is just becoming an eye sore with all the vacant stores. Walmart is the death to all the mom and pop stores all across the country and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

    -- Posted by 1stamendrights on Wed, Jan 5, 2011, at 6:33 PM
  • It is easy to blame the bogeyman. Wal Mart didn't kill any business. It was the American demand for cheap products that drove Wal Mart's rise to business largess. Remember when Wal-Mart advertised products made in America for Americans. Originally it was about 90% of the products they carry. Wal-Mart doesn't make money if people don't shop there.

    -- Posted by exhoosier2 on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 10:50 PM
  • How many products on Wal-Marts shelves are made in America? I'm willing to put down good money that at least 40% of thier items are made overseas. Now that Wal-mart has crushed every other business in town, where do you expect me to buy clothes, shoes and undergarments and other house hold items? Please don't say Wal-Mart. Beside household itemss, Wal-Mart sells nothing more then cheap garbage! I don't mind spending more money on items like anyone else I just don't want garbage.

    -- Posted by 1stamendrights on Sat, Jan 8, 2011, at 12:00 AM
  • As far as the Wal-Mart issue goes, it took 3 decades or more for Wal-Mart to rise to prominence. Just about everything found in Wal-Mart can be found in other retail outlets. Only problem is people expect to get the same or a better product in smaller outlets but yet expect the small business retailer to match Wal-Marts prices. Can't be done. Manufacturers cut big volume purchasers large discounts the smaller buyers can't get. It's business 101.

    -- Posted by exhoosier2 on Sat, Jan 8, 2011, at 3:36 PM
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