The Rush County Courthouse was built in 1896 and has stood the test of time, however, it has also weathered perhaps too many storms. A major roof repair project was undertaken in 1970 resulting in additional tiles being purchased at that time. Although minor “patch” projects were realized during the ensuing 30 years, it was not until 2005 that another major repair project was undertaken.
The Traditions Company, out of Columbus, Ohio, was hired by the county and a lengthy retiling project that included using many of the remaining tiles from the project 30 completed years earlier. Shortly after the completion, an electrical storm that passed through the county during June 2005 caused extensive damage when two lightning strikes hit the courthouse.
The damage incurred by the storm cost county taxpayers and additional $79,455 in repairs. A project that was undertaken in 2006, again by the Traditions Company.
Upon completion of the second repair effort, problems were realized when it was found that tiles were not properly secured, allowing water from storms to damage the roof substructure further and enter the courthouse causing internal damage as well.
Storage rooms that contained records and documents and the evidence room for the current and pending trial cases sustained significant water damage.
A number of minor attempts to rectify the leaks failed and additional internal damage to the courthouse has resulted, most recently to the Superior Courtroom of Judge Brian Hill. Water damaged the drop ceiling in his courtroom as well as the carpet in and around the bench area of the room and the walls and window area.
“Something has to be done. Minor repairs have not corrected the problem. The roof leak problem is only going to get worse. It needs to be corrected,” Judge Hill said recently.
In an effort to find a time table for repairs, Judge Hill recently attended a county commissioner meeting in search of answers.