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Courthouse Dome project to get underway soon

Posted: Monday, Nov 26th, 2012

By Billy Stitz

After several months of planning, the Moody County Commissioners have finally come up with a plan to get the necessary work done on the courthouse dome.

In early August, while they were painting the inside of the courthouse, a few pieces of the gold leaf plaster fell from the ceiling, crashing onto the ground below. Ever since then, the commissioners have been trying their best to find a feasible solution to the problem. The commissioners have had to keep the scaffolding up in the courthouse since the incident in order to keep pedestrians safe as they walk underneath the plaster molding.

Step one of the process was to hire a new architect. In stepped Brad Ciavarella of Ciavarella Design out of Mitchell. After he was hired, he surveyed the area and found that not only should the plaster be redone, but the stained glass, which is over 100 years old, needs to be repaired as well.

Before Ciavarella could begin getting estimates on the work, they had to find out if the Courthouse was on the National Register of Historic Places list, which would essentially mean they could not do any construction on the building without their approval. They also have funds available for projects similar to this. The courthouse is in fact on the list but all projects were Okayed and were considered an emergency because of the threat of danger from falling pieces. Unfortunately for the Commissioners, no funds were available because of the timing the project.

Ciavarella collecting bids from companies to do the work to the courthouse.

The first order of business, getting the stained glass removed, re-leaded and restored. Classic Class out of Fargo, ND came in with a $12,240 cost with an additional $650 option if the Commissioners decided they would like the steel frame surrounding the glass scraped and re-painted.

The second part of the project, getting the protective glass on the outside of the building replaced. Ciavarella was able to knock $18,000 dollars of an original bid by Heartland Glass Company out of Sioux Falls by coming up with a cheaper, more efficient design to the shape of the glass than originally planned. Heartland’s new estimate came in at $20,135.

In order to get that glass project finished, they would need somebody to redo the gutter work on the roof. Ciavarella was able to get a bid from Architectural Roofing and Sheetmetal, Inc out of Sioux Falls for $4,550.

The final part of the project, which happens to be the original reason for the project, is restoring the molding around the bottom of the stained glass. Because the molding is so old and unique, they will fit the empty spaces with new material that is identical to the old molding along with anchoring in the existing pieces to keep them from falling to the ground. Ciavarella was able to get a price from Jon Jastram for a cost not to exceed $3,000 – significantly less than the bids the commissioners were getting before they hired Ciavarella.

Overall the price of the project will cost $40,475 dollars and should get under way in the coming weeks.

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