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."