Upcoming courthouse renovation to fix leaks

The Parke County Courthouse renovation project will start the first week of April 2017, and is scheduled to wrap up August of 2018. (WTHI Photo, Lacey Clifton)

ROCKVILLE, Ind. (WTHI) – A Parke County icon is about to get a face-lift.

Parke County Commissioner Jim Meece says, “The courthouse square here is the center, is the headquarters for that Covered Bridge Festival. So, this courthouse gets visited by millions, I know that’s hard to imagine, but millions come through Parke County every year.”

But a project set to start next week isn’t just cosmetic, it’s necessary.

Meece says, “As we completed the clock tower project, we found that we still had leaks coming in the courthouse and those leaks were coming through this next layer down actually just like they were up in the clock tower. So those leaks indicated we have problems. That metal was really bad repair. It’s 100 and what 45 years old now I guess? So it just needs to be dealt with. ”

The courthouse is currently surrounded by a steel skeleton of scaffolding. Meece says it’s the precursor of the second renovation project kicking off soon.

He says, “It’s lead-based paint, so all of the paint has to come off first, all of it has to be captured and taken care of and then once the paint is off then we have metal workers coming in, sheet metal workers, and they will replace all the damaged parts.”

Meece says in total the project is $1.9 million dollars. He says the county borrowed the money instead of doing a bond issue. But, the county did find at least one big area they could really save on.

Meece says, “The real benefit for us, the scaffolding we understand is kind of ugly to look at, but by putting it all up around the courthouse and leaving it there until the project is done will actually save us about a hundred thousand dollars in costs. So it’s a much better move than taking it up and moving it and setting it back up again.”

Overall, the commissioner says the price tag is well-worth the final product.

He says, “To have this building be here since 1870, to be such an integral part of life in Parke County for all the legal aspects of the county, it’s really our job as county commissioners to make sure that we take care of the assets the county owns.”

Meece says construction is scheduled to start the first week of April 2017, and should wrap up in August of 2018.