NewsApril 23, 2024
Bollinger County Courthouse Faces Urgent Repairs: Structural damage, water issues, and wasps plague the 130-year-old building, prompting officials to consider relocation and seek expert advice for restoration.
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The Bollinger County Courthouse, a 130-year-old structure, is showing more visible damage.

The building came to the county commissioners’ attention earlier this year when workers on the roof of a county-owned building across Walnut Street noticed that a portion of the courthouse roof had caved in. That led to the discovery of water damage in the basement and structural damage throughout the building, which resulted in the courtroom on the second floor being declared unsafe.

Eventually, some court cases were moved to Marble Hill City Hall, and the commission declared that when wind speeds reach 25 mph and above, the building will be closed.

Offices in the building remain open for business, although the county began searching for nearby buildings to move into until a decision can be made about what to do with the historic structure — rebuild it or repair it.

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Presiding Commissioner Leo Arnzen noticed Monday that a window directly behind the commissioners’ desks was letting in outside air. He looked further and found a crack in the window frame, which was letting in not only air but wasps from a nest built near the top of the window. The week before, Arnzen noticed a wasp crawling on a nearby wall and killed it.

The commission asked Smith & Co. Engineers of Poplar Bluff several weeks ago to submit a report about what needs to be done to make the building safe.

“We can’t make any decisions until we hear from them,” District 2 Commissioner Chad Hulvey said.

At the direction of the county commission, County Clerk Brittany Howard sent an email to Smith & Co. asking if someone from the company could attend next week’s meeting. As of Monday, Smith & Co. had not responded.

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