July 22, 2014

Medina
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Several structural causes found for crumbling courthouse

MEDINA — Rotting wood is one of the structural problems with the clock tower atop the old Medina County Courthouse, but when the tower will be fixed and at what cost remains undetermined.

Tom Maupin of the Medina County Building Department spent several hours with a structural engineer last month going over problems at the old county courthouse that are causing bricks on the facade to crumble and the clock tower to tilt.

(GAZETTE FILE PHOTO)

(GAZETTE FILE PHOTO)

The engineer, L. Donald Leinweber of Leinweber Structural Engineering of Painesville, sent a report to county officials detailing the findings of his visit.

“It appears from this limited investigation that the difficulty with the tower may have more than one cause,” he wrote.

Wood columns that support some of the tower have rotted due to water seeping in.

Other wood supports were insufficiently replaced in the past, resulting in incomplete support.

One wood tie-rod was cut, possibly when the wood supports were replaced, and caused the brick support beams to move because of stress.

The county will use some of its contingency funds to secure the bricks on the clock tower, to keep water from coming in and for other immediate repairs.

The county is waiting on an official recommendation from the engineering firm before getting quotes from contractors for any work.

The county also is looking at several other vital repairs at the courthouse, including electrical, roofing and heating and cooling.

The county will evaluate how much those will cost in the coming weeks.

Commissioners will have those estimates in mind when they allocate the county’s 2011 budget. County Administrator Chris Jakab said the county will “get pricing for all the items and put together a financing plan to accomplish most of them next year.”

Commissioners are expected to start the budget process once Adam Friedrick, commissioner-elect who will replace outgoing Commissioner Sharon Ray, takes office in January.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.