The $6 million Mahoning County Courthouse restoration project will proceed to completion this year with minimal, if any, disruptions in courthouse operations, according to the project architect.
No courthouse closings are planned during the project, which is now in its second construction season and scheduled for Sept. 30 completion, said Architect David Mickey of MS Consultants Inc.
Scaffolding will be erected on the Market Street side of the building, but the main entrance on Market Street will likely remain open, he said.
“There’ll be pedestrian protection, but access to the building’s maintained,” Mickey said.
One of the project contractors, VIP Restoration of Cleveland, has asked the county to close the front entrance while work is performed directly overhead.
If that happens, the MS Consultants agenda for Wednesday’s construction coordination meeting said the county “requires substantial prior notice” to relocate the security screening station to another entrance.
The project isn’t expected to require any night or weekend work, Mickey said.
Replacement terra cotta will begin arriving at the courthouse during the week of April 25, he said.
The terra cotta is fired clay ornamental masonry to be placed at or near the roof of the 105-year-old building.
The more than 700 pieces of terra cotta will be delivered from Boston Valley Terra Cotta of Orchard Park, N.Y., one of only two terra-cotta makers in the nation.
Boston Valley is “the premier terra-cotta company in the United States,” said Architect Paul Ricciuti, the county’s project manager.
Besides terra cotta replacement, this year’s work will include roof replacement, reinforcement of the statue pedestal and return of the copper statues to the roof.
The statues are undergoing restoration at McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Laboratory Inc. in Oberlin.
“We’ve got major craftspeople working on it,” Ricciuti said of the project. “Everything about this project is how it should be done. It’s very professional.”
If it’s feasible, County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said she favors having a public viewing of the statues on the ground in front of the courthouse for several hours before they are hoisted back to their original rooftop perch in September.
“It might be a nice thing for the citizens of the community to see them down low. They’re exquisite,” Ricciuti said of the statues during the construction coordination meeting with county officials.
The courthouse, which has a granite exterior and a marble interior, opened March 6, 1911, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
When the job is completed, Ricciuti said the public will “see the courthouse, in essence, like it was when it was built.”
Originally published by the Youngstown Vindicator and written by Peter H. Milliken.