The end result includes remodeling, new carpeting, new HVAC, a new elevator, added technology, and a lot of spit and polish.
After 10 months and $4.1 million in renovations, the Fulton County Courthouse has reopened for business.
“We’re here, we’re operating. For all intents and purposes, we’re done,” Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Robinson said of the courthouse.
The crown jewel is the main second-floor courtroom, which underwent an extensive overhaul to both preserve original features and update computer and sound systems. While the room’s antiquated paintings, chairs, and rotunda were reconditioned, new gallery benches manufactured by Sauder Woodworking and new carpeting were added, lighting was enhanced, and the judge’s bench, the jury box, and new and old council tables were all electronically linked.
Judge Robinson said the courtroom’s restoration work, completed by John Canning and Co. of Cheshire, Conn., leaves the historical ambiance of the room preserved and intact. “They did a great job,” he said.
The renovation modernized the courthouse’s Clerk of Courts and Probate Court offices, replaced the heating and air conditioning systems, added a sprinkler system and security features, and replaced an aged elevator with a $300,000 ADA-compliant upgrade, among other improvements.
Other than a few minor tweaks, the building’s overall restoration is 99.9% complete, Judge Robinson said. The offices and court venues forced to relocate to 152 S. Fulton St. and to a building on State Route 108 due to the renovation have returned to their original spaces.
“I’m really pleased with the way things turned out. I think the that the taxpayers got a good bang for the buck,” the judge said.
According to Fulton County Administrator Vond Hall, Mosser Construction of Fremont, Ohio, was paid over $2.96 million to complete the renovation. Other costs included $831,753 to John Canning Co. for the courtroom restoration; $360,560.75 to the architects, Garmann Miller & Associates of Minster, Ohio; and $36,512 to RAM Construction of Ohio and Michigan for cleaning and repair of the Civil War monument at the courthouse entrance.
Hall said the full project was funded through capital improvement funds, special accounts, and two technology grants totaling $122,080 awarded by the Ohio Supreme Court. He said the county’s general fund advanced revenue to non-general fund accounts that will be advanced back in the next several years.
None of the project was funded through a bond issue or loans.
County Clerk of Courts Tracy Zuver said he appreciated being invited to participate in the planning for his office’s renovation.
“It turned out very well. I’m very satisified with it,” he said. “The work flow is going to be a lot easier, and I hope it will be efficient for the public.”
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.