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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ind. Courts - 130-year-old Posey County Courthouse gets new life

The Evansville Courier& Press has a story today by John Lucas titled "Courthouse gets new life: Long-debated renovation begins on 130-year-old Posey building." Some quotes from this long and interesting report:

MOUNT VERNON, Ind. - Terry Newton marvels at some of the features of the 130-year-old Posey County Courthouse.

On Tuesday, Newton, who serves as construction superintendent for Evansville's Peyronnin Construction Co., which is renovating the courthouse, had been tearing out curved shelving in an apse, or alcove, behind the judge's bench.

He pointed out the shelves had been made of many thin strips of wood glue and shaped to fit the curved wall. Such attention to detail can be found on all four floors and the cupola of the courthouse, which dominates downtown Mount Vernon. * * *

Earlier this month, Peyronnin began a renovation that, come fall, will make the courthouse built in 1876 new again.

That is when the long-debated renovation of the old building is expected to be completed. Courthouse offices - the circuit court, clerk and election board - were moved in late December across Main Street to the former Bernie Moll furniture store. * * *

In the courtroom, a new judge's bench will be constructed and an oak back wall, installed in 1892, will be used as a display on the first floor.

That, said Circuit Judge James Redwine, will allow the courtroom apse - a semicircular alcove behind the judge - to serve as a natural amplifier for voices as builders intended. * * *

"It's been a while coming. Everybody knows that," said Redwine, who in 2004 issued a judicial mandate to push county officials to complete renovations to the building. * * *

Commissioners didn't want to raise taxes to pay for the work, leading Redwine to issue his mandate that led to appointment of a special judge and mediation last year.

"We gave a little; he gave a little," Posey County Commissioner Scott Moye said of the mediation.

The work now under way is expected to take seven or eight months to complete and will cost the county about $1.7 million, including temporarily relocating courthouse personnel, Moye said. Actual construction on the the four-floor courthouse is expected to cost $1.4 million and will be paid for by 10-year bonds sold by the county, he said. [my emphasis]

This mention of judicial mandate brings to mind this Oct. 28, 2005 ILB entry about the endangered Randolph County courthouse, which has been slated for demolition by the county commissioners, asking whether that option was being considered by the Randolph judges.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 18, 2006 09:52 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts