MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) - It will likely take a year to repair a county courthouse in central Iowa that sustained damage when a tornado swept through the area this summer, officials said.
Only a few Marshall County employees have been allowed into the 132-year-old courthouse since the July 19 tornado, The Times-Republican reported .
Most of the internal damage occurred on the courthouse’s east side. The building’s cupola and fallen chimneys broke three sprinkler lines, which resulted in a flood of water entering the courthouse.
“We did a calculation and we think there was 14,000-16,000 gallons of water that came in,” said Nan Benson, the county’s auditor and recorder.
The small courtroom’s wood furnishings were also heavily damaged. The historically preserved grant courtroom was unscathed and none of the records stored in the building sustained serious damage.
“Water was coming in so we moved the books that night and put up towels in the ceiling,” Benson said.
Residents can access some records that have been relocated to a Great Western Bank and county officials can also make copies of records still at the courthouse, Benson said.
Maintaining the historic building’s structural integrity during the repair process has been complex, Benson said. Hot air that was blasted into the building to deal with water damage had to be kept at a lower temperature to avoid damaging the courthouse’s wooden skeleton.
Work will continue into the winter despite weather limitations, Benson said. The project is expected to take a year to complete. The $15.5 million renovation cost will be covered by insurance.
Information from: Times-Republican, http://www.timesrepublican.com
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