Scott courthouse repairs should begin in spring

By Wes Bunch

GATE CITY — After taking months to come to a decision on how much to spend, officials in Scott County began moving forward recently with plans to make repairs to the county’s nearly 200-year-old courthouse.

Scott County Administrator Kathie Noe said the county has already hired engineering firm Thompson & Litton to begin drawing up construction documents for the project, marking the first official steps toward getting the repairs done.

“There are just some repairs that we just can’t wait on any longer,” Noe said. “We don’t want it to pose a threat or danger to anyone, and we want to preserve the building too. If we wait any longer, with some of these things that are in such ill repair, it will be harder to get them back to where they should be.”

The firm will be paid $40,000 for its services.

The courthouse — which was built in 1821 and is still in use today — was deemed structurally sound by engineers earlier this year. But they told supervisors improvements to its roof, parapet and bell tower are needed sooner rather than later.

In June, Scott County supervisors allocated $105,000 to cover planning and construction of the first phase of the repair project.

The entire cost of the improvements is estimated to come in at around $330,000. In order to cover that cost, supervisors agreed at the time to fund the project over the course of two fiscal years ending in 2012-13.

According to a memorandum of understanding between Scott County and Thompson & Litton, the firm will provide design and construction administrative services for the repair project.

Thompson & Litton engineers said the construction would generally involve repairs to the courthouse parapet, replacing two steel stairs and adding canopies, making repairs to the bell tower, and carrying out miscellaneous roof repairs that might be necessary.

Those repairs are considered either “urgent” or “must do,” engineers said previously.

The design portion of the project is expected to take between four and five months to complete. Actual construction on the courthouse is slated to begin sometime in the spring.