Reproducing Williams County Courthouse Carries Hefty Price Tag

If the Williams County Courthouse ever became so damaged that it had to be rebuilt, the cost go as high as $30 million.

Fortunately insurance would pick up the tab provided the Board of County Commissioners agree to pay the premium. The board was scheduled to discuss the matter Oct. 3.

The commissioners learned about the cost when Ginny Shrimplin from CORSA came to talk about coverage issues. The meeting was pleasant, but with only two of three commissioners present for the mid-afternoon session, a decision could not reached.

The high cost is based on reproducing the courthouse with new materials that faithfully match the original. This includes the ornate carved wood and stone, marble walls, floors and columns and the brick exterior.

At $13,675,500, the cost of replacing the courthouse is much cheaper. Instead of solid stone walls, there would be a stone veneer. The design would be contemporary with a more practical use and design. Instead of vaults there would contemporary records storage.

This option would not impact the premium paid now, but the reproduction option would cost an additional $11,000.

The courthouse has an appraised value of $13,812,542.

The information comes as the county’s repairs to the roof of the courthouse nears completion. Commissioner Lewis Hilkert said he has heard from people who wonder why the county didn’t just tear down the old building and start anew.

The project is already paying dividends as the new roof has held up after Bryan received 2.5 inches of rain Sept. 28, Commissioner Brian Davis said.

“A year ago, I don’t think that would be the case,” Davis said.

The commissioners said a total loss is unlikely but possible, but even if only a floor is damaged, attention needs to be paid to protect the ornate design and appearance and not make the mistakes when the fourth floor was converted from storage into office space.

“The fourth floor is good example of what not to do,” Davis said.

In other news,
The board awarded the Durham Estates Sanitary Sewer Improvements project to Bryan Excavating. The company submitted the lowest and most responsive bid of $258,527.50.

The board also approved the resignation of William Pepple from the county’s Port Authority.

James Pruitt may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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