County: Water damage to County Courthouse no worse than expected

cconley@beaufortgazette.comDecember 25, 2012 

Workers have removed much of the failed facade from the Beaufort County Courthouse and are replacing the leaky roof and windows, according to county officials.

So far,concerns about worse-than-expected water damage hidden behind the building's walls have not been borne out, engineering director Rob McFee said recently.

Even better: The $14 million project, which also fixes water damage at the detention center, is within budget and on pace to finish next September, about a month early.

"That's about as good as it gets in my world," McFee said recently.

Fraser Construction began the renovations in August, nearly three years after the county won nearly $7 million in a legal settlement because of faulty faux stucco exterior.

Workers are enclosing the first-floor covered walkway and replacing leaky windows and doors, in addition to the roof. A second-floor balcony also will be enclosed, adding nearly 9,000 square feet of office space, and a red brick facade will replace the imitation stucco. Interior support beams also will be replaced.

The county detention center's administration building, which was damaged by water because of faulty building materials, is getting a new roof and facade.

The project was paid for with the settlement money and leftover funds from the St. Helena Library construction. It also borrowed about $3 million.

Evidence of the ongoing work include a crane that towers above the county's Beaufort campus and strings of lights hung around an imitation Christmas tree. The county did not light its live tree outside the main Administration Building because it is surrounded by construction equipment, county spokeswoman Joy Nelson said. Since the work began, some court employees have been displaced temporarily, while others are working from an empty courthouse. However, Clerk of Court Jerri Roseneau said "none of the court operations have been interrupted."

Her department is among those that will have more room once the work is finished.

"We will realize some space on the back," Roseneau said, "so we won't have 12 people in one office."

Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.

Related content:

Beaufort County launches $13M courthouse renovation

County eyes federal courthouse for some of its space needs, March 27, 2012

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