A swift moving electrical storm that passed through the county nearly 15 months ago, in June 2005, caused more damage than initially thought, at least as far as the roof of the Rush County Courthouse is concerned.

A lighting bolt stuck that struck the top of the courthouse at that time caused major roof damage in a number of places.

In addition, as a result of the direct hit from the lightening bolt and the amount of copper in the building, a strong electrical current caused computer server problems in county offices. The intense burst of electricity disrupted many computers at the county seat and left the nearby Rush County Sheriff’s office without a computer system for a number of days.

In the days that followed the 2005 storm, the county hired historical consultant R.J. Kunkle of The Traditions Company, of Columbus, Ohio, to make necessary repairs.

Moving ahead to the near present, during the Aug. 22, 2006 meeting of the county commissioners discussion centered once again on the courthouse roof.

Commissioner president Tom Barnes informed fellow commissioners Dwight Sweet and Marvin Cole that repairs completed in January of this year did not complete the repair process. It was learned that tiles above the clock tower of the structure had become loose and dislodged. Those tile in turn fell onto a lower roof of the county building caused additional damage.

“Additional repairs are needed to the tune of $38,800. Tiles from the clock tower roof recently fell and damaged tiles on lower level sections,” Barnes said last month.

Once again the Heritage Company was contracted to handle the most recent repair needs.

According to Barnes, the county purchased additional tiles in 1970; those tiles will be utilized to make the current repairs. According to Kunkle, replacement of the tiles purchased 36 years ago would cost in the neighborhood of $400,000 at today’s prices.

Additional savings that will be reflected in the current repair will be the installation of a synthetic compound tile on the clock tower roof.

Workers were oblivious to the lack of activity during Monday’s observance of Labor Day and were busy replacing the tiles on the top level of the building. The process is expected to be completed in the near future.



Frank Denzler can be contacted at (765) 932-2222 or via e-mail at frank.denzler@cnhimedia.com. To add a comment to this story visit our Website at www.rushvillerepublican.com.

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