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Restoring the Mahoning County Courthouse

Mahoning commissioners hear $8.1 million courthouse restoration proposal

ms consultants, inc.

August 1, 2014

A team of architects and engineers estimates it will cost Mahoning County more than $8.1 million to restore its 103-year-old county courthouse.


That figure includes $5.4 million worth of architectural and structural repairs; $620,000 to replace the roof; and $184,000 to load, ship, restore and return the copper rooftop statues from storage to the courthouse, for a total of $6,204,000.


Contingency costs for unforeseen circumstances raise the total to $8,141,000.


The figures were contained in a report presented Thursday to the county commissioners by a 10-member architectural and engineering team.


The tentative project schedule calls for advertising for bids late this year and using the entire 2015 construction season, with the work possibly extending into 2016.


The restoration presents “an extraordinary opportunity to breathe new life into a magnificent architectural monument and preserve the legacy of Mahoning County,” and make the building safe, “with the aim of prolonging its useful life for many generations to come,” the report said.


The report, based on this year’s high-lift examination of the building’s exterior, was presented in a commissioners’ staff meeting by MS Consultants Inc., architects and engineers of Youngstown; Chambers, Murphy & Burge restoration architects of Akron; and Barber & Hoffman consulting engineers and the Architects Inc., both of Cleveland.


“Approximately one-third of the roof has been compromised with water infiltration,” the report said.


Damage to the upper part of the building has resulted primarily from “water infiltration through the stone and terra cotta joints, through the copper gutter seams at the cornices, and at failed joints in the roofing materials,” the report said.


Terra cotta is molded clay brick or block.


The work will include removing and reinstalling or replacing the entire perimeter parapet wall above the roof, “preserving as much of the original terra cotta as possible,” and repairing the statue pedestal, including repair or replacement of its corroded steel support beams.


David Ditzler, chairman of the county commissioners, asked whether the statues must be returned to the roof.


Architect Paul Ricciuti of Youngstown, a consultant to the county, said the Ohio Historical Society requires they be returned to the roof because they are part of the historic building.


“You have to bring it back to its original state,” Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said of the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.


“When they moved them, they damaged them. They should have never been moved. ... They could have been repaired in place,” Ricciuti said of the statues.


The report said a lifting cable vertically cut the back of the statue group during its 2010 removal from the courthouse roof.


In an earlier meeting Thursday, the commissioners voted to advertise for bids for new courthouse elevator machinery and controls; for masonry, concrete and shower repairs and sliding gate replacement at the county jail and for parapet repair at the county administration building.


The commissioners awarded an $80,700 contract to Insight Pipe Contracting of Harmony, Pa., to line a storm sewer and repair a sinkhole on New Road, just east of Raccoon Road in Austintown.


They also approved a road improvement, maintenance and repair agreement with Ohio Edison Co. and the Berlin Township trustees under which the company agrees to repair any road damage its trucks might cause during a power-line installation in the township.


Originally published by the Youngstown Vindicator and written by Peter J. Milliken.