Courthouse during work

The Shelby County Courthouse, built in 1880, underwent a roofing project that became more involved and lasted a year.

Shelby County Board members heard at their latest meeting that the courthouse roof project that lasted over a year is now complete.

Buildings Committee Chairman Dale Wetherell (District 6) announced the completion of the project at the Aug. 14 board meeting. A final report will be given on Friday during a Building Committee meeting at 9 a.m. in Courtroom B in the Shelby County Courthouse.

Wetherell said that the roofing project was approved in march of 2018, but the work had to wait until a separate project of cement work around the building was finished. This month, it’s all done.

Wetherell reported that the project initially was to cost $623,815. Then due to additional damage that was discovered, the cost went up by 467,189, for a total for the project of nearly $1.1 million.

County Board Chairman Dave Cruitt remarked about the nature of the project.

“It was a major project and it took longer than anticipated,”” Cruitt said. “It looks so good. I was driving in at 6:45 a.m. the other morning and the sun was shining on the courthouse and it looked so good. The work that was done will last a long time with the metal shingles. The roof has a 50-year warranty.”

Wetherell said that it started as a roofing project and became much more when rotting wood was found under the shingles.

“Roofing was the main priority, but there were also pieces of metal that were blowing off,” Wetherell said. “It was like a hornets nest, when do you stop?”

Cruitt said that the roof was the original roof from 1880. The rotted wood had to be replaced. Metal beams had to be replaced. The clock tower was ready to fall.

“The brick work was loose,” Cruitt said. “You could remove a brick with your hand and put it back in. Up in the wind like that, I’m surprised it hadn’t come down.”

Cruitt said that once the additional damage was found, it had to be fixed.

“You gotta finish and do it right,” Cruitt said.

Cruitt said the labor cost was high for men working up so high off the ground. When worked dragged into the winter he said the work slowed down.

“I wasn’t happy with the roofing company,” Wetherell said. “They stalled on getting the work done. It should have been done four or five months ago. Then in May, they promised it would be done by the end of July and they came pretty close.”

Wetherell said he has gotten a lot of positive feedback on the work that was done. He pointed out that the courthouse clock does not work yet, but that was not part of the project. He said that would have to be done as a separate project.

He also cited other building projects like a new back-up generator needs to be installed and something needs to be done on the courthouse windows.

In other business:

The Budget amendments were approved for the 2018-2019 Budget

The Budget for FY 2019-2020 was presented and is available for review at the County Clerk’s Office, until the next County Board meeting on September 11, when it will be voted on.

A new auditing company was hired, West & Associates. The previous auditors, Mose, Yockey, Brown & Kull, LLC was not going to audit Shelby County after this year.

County Board Member Robert H. Behl resigned, leaving a vacancy for District 7 (Ash Grove, Big Spring, Sigel Townships).

John Curtis can be reached at

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